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Newspaper Guild Condemns Post-Gazette, Claims 'Unrelenting Mistreatment' After Paper Offers Barred Black Journalist Assignment To Fly To Houston For George Floyd's Funeral

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh released a statement condemning the "unrelenting mistreatment" of a black reporter who was barred from protest coverage but then offered an assignment to fly to Texas and cover George Floyd's funeral.

The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh laid down a list of demands after a black Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist says she was barred from protest coverage because of a viral "thought provoking" tweet the newspaper told her was biased.

Alexis Johnson's tweet from last weekend read: "Horrifying scenes and aftermath from selfish LOOTERS who don't care about this city!!!!! .... oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures from a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate. Whoops."

The guild called on Post-Gazette management to issue an apology, remove the bans, stop retaliating against their supporters, get back to ethical journalism and "foster substantive discussions" to eliminate systematic discrimination.

In a statement released Tuesday, the guild says none of their demands were met. Late Monday night, the guild says Johnson was told Managing Editor Karen Kane was offering her an assignment to fly to Houston and cover the funeral of George Floyd.

The statement says this was "logistically difficult given that the service would be happening in about 16 hours" and there had been no indication the ban on Johnson was lifted.

The guild goes on to say Johnson was told early Tuesday she'd virtually cover Floyd's funeral, though she still hadn't been told the ban was lifted.

"Devoid of any moral authority or credibility, management at the Post-Gazette is attempting to remove itself from the hole it dug by furiously digging even deeper," said guild president and 36-year reporter at the paper Michael Fuoco.

Pulitzer prize winning black photojournalist Michael Santiago says he was also pulled from protest coverage, but says management has yet to give him a reason. The guild says he tweeted Johnson's post as a show of support.

The guild also says two other reporters identified as Lauren Lee and Ashley Murray had their stories removed from the website after they tweeted support for Johnson.

KDKA does have a news gathering partnership with the Post-Gazette. KDKA reached out to the paper's Managing Editor Karen Kane and Block Newspapers Executive Editor and Vice President Keith Burris for comment yesterday, but have yet to receive a response.

You can read the guild's whole statement here.

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