Student journalist fired for tweeting Jacob Blake’s criminal history fights back hard, attorney puts school on notice

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Update/correction: Klein and her attorney have not yet filed a lawsuit against the school. Discussions are ongoing. Please note the correction in a previous headline. 

The liberal media has pretty much set the standard when it comes to covering black men being shot by the police.

Inevitably, after the emotion and anger subsides — and the occasional riot — there are often mitigating circumstances that saw little, if any media coverage. And those who do focus on these overlooked/ignored details can find themselves singled out, as an Arizona State University journalism student found out.

 

Rae’Lee Klein lost her job last month as station manager at ASU’s student-run Blaze Radio after Black Lives Matter supporters took exception to a tweet she posted about Jacob Blake facing sexual assault allegations, according to the Phoenix New Times.

But Klein is fighting back, demanding the university compensate her for violating her First Amendment rights.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

New Year, same Red Jumpsuit ❤️✨👠 #cronkitenews #reporter #headshot #red

A post shared by Rae’Lee Klein 👑🌞 (@raez_of_sunshine) on

Attorney Jack D. Wilenchik sent a letter to ASU informing them to either rehire Klein or provide monetary damages for violating her rights, Fox News reported.

“I was just trying to do A), what I was assigned to do and B), what I thought was my job as a journalist, which is to share an important part of the story,” the student said, according to the network.

Blake was shot in the back seven times after fighting with police in Kenosha, Wisc.,  and trying to get back in an SUV that he had reportedly stolen before the encounter. A knife was later found in the SUV and before opening fire, police are heard on video saying, “Drop the knife!”

The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down.

The media ran with the family’s emotional reaction to the incident, and the reason why police were interacting with Blake in the first place fell to the wayside as Black Lives Matter protesters protested and rioted — during the ensuing chaos 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protesters in what appeared to be self-defense.

Klein posted a tweet that included a link to a New York Post article that reported cops were trying to arrest Blake for violating a restraining order stemming from an alleged sexual assault.

“Always more to the story, folks,” the tweet read. “Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.”

The Post reported that Blake was accused of breaking into the home of a woman he knew and sexually assaulting her and had been charged with felony sexual assault, trespassing and domestic abuse in July.

After the fallout over Klein’s tweet, Blaze Radio’s six-member board voted to remove her from the paid position, according to the New Times. Klein refused to step down.

“After long consideration about the situation, I am declining to willingly step down from my position as Station Manager,” she wrote. “I truly believe I did nothing wrong that is worthy of removal. No one has communicated to me any law, written standard, or rule I violated with my actions. I shared a factual argument, and although I shared an opinion, that I was disgusted by the sexual assault of a woman, I have done nothing more erroneous than my peers.”

Kristin Gilger, the interim dean of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, informed Klein that “staying on as station manager is not an option.”

In a statement provided to BizPac Review, ASU said that Gilger “has been clear with Rae’Lee Klein that she would not be, and has not been, removed as station manager of Blaze Radio because of the views she expressed.”

ASU added that the student has been presented with options “to continue on as a station manager in a way that takes into account the needs and points of view of other students involved in the Blaze Radio organization.”

Discussions on this front continue.

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Tom Tillison

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