- BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was “violently pushed and shoved” on Monday night by one of President Donald Trump’s supporters at a rally in El Paso, Texas.
- Footage from Skeans’ camera shows him thrown off balance before recovering to film a man being led away and yelling “F— the media!”
- The BBC said it was “unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job” but said the president signalled to check that Skeans was OK after the attack.
- BBC journalists in Washington connected the attack to Trump’s criticisms of the media on Monday and at other rallies, and said they had faced abuse at Trump’s events.
A BBC cameraman was attacked and pushed on Monday night by a President Donald Trump supporter yelling “F— the media!” at the president’s rally in favour of a border wall in El Paso, Texas.
Ron Skeans was “violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd while covering a President Trump rally in Texas last night,” a BBC spokesman told INSIDER in a statement.
Skeans told the BBC that he was taken aback by a “very hard shove,” at the rally adding: “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Greg O’Donoghue, the BBC’s Washington correspondent, shared footage from Skeans’ camera, which jerks away Trump to the floor as Skeans is pushed. The man tried to smash Skeans’ camera, O’Donoghue said.
This is the shameful moment when my cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked at an @realDonaldTrump rally in El Paso last night – warning this video contains strong language. Happily Ron is fine. #TrumpElPaso pic.twitter.com/Ay5DYT6gjP
— Gary O'Donoghue (@BBCBlindGazza) February 12, 2019
After 10 seconds the camera stabilizes, pivoting to show a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat repeatedly yelling “F— the media!” as he restrained by another man, who appears to be wearing an identical hat.
Members of the crowd can then he heard yelling “Get him out!” as the man is escorted from the scene.
The man was eventually removed by security and Skeans is “fine,” the BBC spokesman said. He added that Trump “could see the incident and checked with us that all was OK.”
“It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job,” the spokesman added.
O’Donoghue called the attack a “shameful moment,” and condemned security at the event for allowing the man to reach the elevated platform where journalists were covering the event.
He also told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program on Tuesday that crowds getting worked up about the media was a “constant feature of these rallies.”
“I have been spat at before – they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular,” he said.
During the rally, Trump repeated his frequent criticisms of the media, claiming that it is biased against him and fundamentally dishonest and regularly “fake.”
He told supporters that “the media refuses to acknowledge what we’ve done” and that “some of the most dishonest people in media are the so-called fact-checkers.”
He also directly referenced members of the present to media cover the rally, saying: “We have suffered a totally dishonest media, and we’ve won, and it’s driving them crazy, driving them crazy. It’s driving them crazy, but look at them. They still come.”
Eleanor Montague, the BBC’s Washington news editor, said that “the crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night.”
Just attended my first @realDonaldTrump rally where my colleague BBC cameraman Rob Skeans was attacked by a Trump supporter. The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night #TrumpElPaso pic.twitter.com/Oiw8osPms3
— Eleanor Montague (@EleanorMontague) February 12, 2019
In August, United Nations experts warned that Trump’s attacks on the media, including calling journalists “enemies of the people,” could result in violence against journalists.
The rhetoric of Trump and other leading Republicans against the media was also credited with either explicitly or indirectly influencing Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of mailing explosives to critics of Trump, including the Obamas and CNN.
Sayoc’s social-media accounts and the exterior of his van showed that he was a Trump supporter who shared right-wing articles and memes.
Trump has also previously praised a Republican congressman who pleaded guilty to assaulting a reporter.
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