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Student journalist Rae'Lee Klein was voted out as station manager after the board of directors of Blaze Radio at Arizona State University after backlash against a tweet she posted giving context about Jacob Blake's criminal past, according to Western Journal.
Videos from the Aug. 23, Kenosha, Wisc. shooting showed Blake being shot in the back by police officers. The incident was followed by nights of rioting in Kenosha, as BLM activists claimed that this was an unjustified shooting.
Klein posted a link to a New York Post article that gave additional background to the incident, that was not seen on the viral footage. That story indicated that the police had been called to the scene by Blake's ex-girlfriend, who was complaining about his presence in her home, where he was not supposed to be.
Along with the article, Klein tweeted: "Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake's warrant. You'll be quite disgusted."
The article stated that officers had already attempted to deploy two tasers. It was only after the police had shot Blake that they discovered a knife on the floorboard of the vehicle he had been digging through when the incident occurred.
The New York Post story that Klein shared revealed how Blake was wanted in connection with three separate offenses filed in July in relation to an alleged sexual assault incident involving his ex-girlfriend, who was same woman who called the authorities shortly before Blake was shot by police.
It was only after there was an outcry over her tweet that Blaze Radio—run by ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication—decided to vote for Klein's removal.
Klein gave comment to the Western Journal, saying: "The tweet absolutely blew up and people were super, super upset. They said that I was racist, that I was insensitive and that essentially I wasn’t fit to lead in this role any longer."
"The board, at first, was very supportive, helped me write statements, was really trying to save the face of Blaze radio," she said. "And then, in a matter of six hours, they all decided to call for my resignation as well.
"And then," Klein said, "people on the staff of the Cronkite School, who oversee the functioning of Blaze radio, present and former, said that because I am a white woman who was raised in Wyoming and did pageants, I have no room to comment about stuff like this, and that the tweet was too, quote, like too Fox News-y and that all the backlash and mob mentality I was getting for it was justified and I should just step down."
Despite the board voting her out, they do not have the authority to remove her—that decision will be up to the school dean. Klein declined to resign.
The student group Walter Cronkite College Council said that Klein's tweet was "factually misleading, discriminatory and racist," adding that it "has potentially caused the harm and exclusion of students of color, specifically Black students."
"This isn’t the first time that I’ve been called a racist for sharing information that I find relevant, and unfortunately, with these issues being so sensitive, no matter which way you lean you're going to be called a racist no matter what you are, you're wrong one way or another, and you can't appease everybody," Klein said in response to the accusations.
She deleted the original post, and shared another. She said that she had shared the information not to excuse the harm done to Blake, but to give additional context.
"There’s always going to be a group upset," she said, "and it’s not an easy pill to swallow, but it doesn’t take away from my belief that the truth needs to be told."
"They call me out on hurting the industry, but they're inherently the ones doing it because they’re trying to censor which truth gets out, and just because it may be hard to hear doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be told," Klein added.
"I think a lot of different news outlets, unfortunately, they pick and choose which stories that they want to tell that fits their audience and they run it like a business, and that’s not what journalism is supposed to be."
"I'm a patriot first and a journalist second," she said. "I will never turn my back on the people that I work for."