Brittany Noble had been working at WJTV, a local news station in Jackson, Mississippi, for three years when her job was suddenly terminated.
The 32-year-old anchor was away on sick leave, caring for her dying grandfather, when she received the surprising news.
But what many people have found really appalling about Noble's dismissal is the fact that the way she wore her hair played a part in the station's decision.
Shortly before getting fired, Noble filed a formal complaint citing discrimination in the workplace. She alleged that she's been a target because of her race, and has been told on numerous occasions that her hair is "unprofessional."
She highlighted the fact that in the month that she wore her natural hair, she never once received a complaint from a viewer, but her boss just wouldn't have it.
"After having my son, I asked my news director if I could stop straightening my hair," Noble wrote in a personal essay published on Medium. She continued, "A month after giving me the green light I was pulled back into his office. I was told 'My natural hair is unprofessional and the equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store.' He said, ‘Mississippi viewers needed to see a beauty queen.'"
"When I asked him how I should address the change on social media he told me to write ‘I was told to change my hair back to the way it was because that’s what looks best,'" Noble added.
The journalist also revealed that she was not included in station promos while she was pregnant and during postpartum.
Her pitches, many of which addressed issues relating to race, were rejected because they were "not for all people."
While Noble's first complaint had some positive outcomes - her boss was fired and she was given a storage closet to pump milk for her newborn son - things didn't stay good for long.
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I told myself I would no longer live in fear in 2019. I went to my childhood church with my son, mom and grandma Sunday. The choir sang “encourage yourself.” Then my Pastor began preaching about gifts. What Unused talents are in the building he asked us. He also said your talents can multiply. You don’t want to get before the king- who gave you the gift- & tell him you didn’t have the guts to use it for his glory. I never claimed to be a writer, I had producers 🙃But I got on periscope, played 🎼encourage yourself & wrote a post on medium finally telling Mississippi why I was forced out. It went viral y’all. I mean... yeah. It never occurred to me that people may think the stuff I said was untrue. I am a reporter & the daughter of two investigators. I told Nexstar the day I filed my first complaints that I had recordings. I endured a 2 month investigation working under the bosses I complained about. Nexstar told me my boss never said it. “I told you I have recordings” I said. The next day my boss was gone after I logged just one. That was back in 2017 - & that’s when the retaliation began. When I reached out to Nexstar for help they told me, “you shouldn’t be expected to be treated fairly when you go around recording people.” I repeatedly stopped by the EEOC begging for help. Keep me lifted as I share my story. @sarahjakesroberts It was your sermons that pulled me out of depression, a toxic marriage, and fear giving me the strength to do what I know I’ve been called to do. There has been a massive outpouring of support. I am encouraged by the amount of believers of all shades standing with me. 🎼There’s an army rising up to break every chain. 🙋🏾♀️ Link in bio.
After submitting a second compliant, this time with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), she started experiencing even more harassment by her higher-ups.
“The internal harassment got so bad that I made several trips to the EEOC department begging for help. They finally took my case but warned me I would get fired."
Unfortunately, their warning did eventually become a reality.
Now, Noble is waiting for the government shutdown to come to an end so her case can proceed.
In the meantime, she's sharing her story to inspire change in the media industry.
"I hope that corporations will take a look at their policies and handbooks. I want to help news organizations diversify their product because America is counting on us," she told Today. "Our newsrooms should reflect the community we serve," she said. "We’ve got to find ways to work together. My story is so much bigger than hair."