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KOCO Journalist Publicly Resigns, Citing Racism In The Newsroom

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Journalist Porsha Riley, formerly of KOCO 5 News, in a Thursday video explaining her resignation.

A journalist at KOCO 5 News in Oklahoma City has publicly resigned, saying the television station mishandled racist incidents and discriminated against reporters of color.

In a video posted to social media Thursday, Porsha Riley cited multiple incidents, including a white anchor referring to a Black anchor as a gorilla, a photographer who used the n-word being assigned to work with Black journalists, and an alleged pattern of not extending equal opportunities to journalists of color.

"The racial trauma myself and others have encountered is just part of the reason I can no longer work here," Riley said, reading from a resignation letter. "It's also the constant lies and attempts to invalidate our experiences to cover yourself and the company, a tactic that isn't new when it comes to trying to discredit minorities in regard to what's been inflicted upon us."

"It's so upsetting," Riley said. "I love Oklahoma. I'm born and raised here. I wanted to be here. I wanted to stick it out. I wanted to tough it out. But there comes a point, like I said -- I have a young Black son, which gets me emotional. And that's just not something that I want to, that's not an example that I want to set for him, to settle and take it."

"I just hope the next Black journalist, the next Black person, the next Black child just knows that you can be the change, and that you don't have to sit there and take it," Riley said.

Asked about the allegations in Riley's resignation letter and video, KOCO 5 president and general manager Brent Hensley said only, "We have accepted Porsha’s resignation and wish her well. It is our policy not to comment on personnel matters, except to say that we wish her the best."

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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