Whoopi Goldberg and Charlamagne Tha God have spoken out in defense of the Mississippi news anchor and meteorologist who hasn’t been on the air since quoting Snoop Dogg during a live broadcast.
Barbie Bassett, who is White, has not been on the air for NBC’s affiliate WLBT since March 8, when she and her colleagues discussed Snoop’s wine collection.
Bassett said, “For shizzle, my nizzle,” when one of her colleagues joked about her getting a tattoo of the rapper. Nizzle is slang for the N-word.
Although WLBT has not commented publicly on the issue, Bassett’s bio is no longer listed on their website and has not been on air since.
Now two high-profile media personalities have come to Bassett’s defense. During Monday’s (March 27) episode of his nationally syndicated radio program The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne said Bassett might have had no idea what she was saying at the time.
“She can’t say, ‘Fo shizzle, my (expletive)?” he said. “Oh, I guess because (it’s) a derivative of (N-word).”
Charlamagne added: “She might not even know what (N-word) means. Come on. We got to stop, man. That’s not a reason to fire that woman.”
Bassett was also a topic of discussion in Whoopi Goldberg’s The View segment.
Goldberg, who has been subject to criticism for comments she’s made on air, including about the Holocaust, said that her views on the matter were informed by “having been in this situation before.”
“There has to be a book of stuff that nobody could ever say, ever, ever, ever. Include everything,” she said.
“Include everything because I tell you, the things that change, ‘You can say this, but you can’t say that, but next week you might not be able to say this,’ it’s hard to keep up.”
“Just because we’re no television, doesn’t mean we know everything. We don’t know everything you’re not supposed to do.”
“And if there is something someone says if you’re not going to give them the opportunity to explain why they said it, at least give them the grace of saying, ‘You know what? I’ve just been informed that I should not have done that,’ as opposed to, ‘You’re out,'” she added.
Goldberg also asked media stations to hear employees out before showing them the door. Doing so could help others not make the same mistake.
“Saying ‘You’re out’ means you don’t want to hear what people have to say … that could have helped somebody else not make that mistake.”
The last time Bassett was subject to controversy was in 2022 after making insensitive remarks on air referring to a Black reporter’s “grandmammy.” She later apologized.
“That is not the heart of who I am. And for that, I humbly ask for your forgiveness, and I apologize to everyone I have offended. I will learn from this and participate in training so I can better understand our history and our people,” she said at the time.
“I pray you’ll forgive me and that you’ll extend grace through this awful mistake.”
Bassett has, however, not spoken publicly about what happened, and her current status at WLBT remains unclear.
When contacted by People Monday, the station’s regional vice president Ted Fortenberry said WLBT’s “unable to comment on personal matters.”