Rochester reporter blasts ‘disgusting’ comments from two men while on camera
"Being hit on and harassed as a woman, especially as a woman reporter out in the field, happens so often you learn how to roll with it or ignore it. This time it happened to be recorded only seconds before my hit," Brianna Hamblin wrote.
A Black female reporter offered a glimpse of the harassment she and other women endure doing their jobs in the media.
Brianna Hamblin, a reporter for Spectrum News 1 in Rochester, New York, went viral on social media Friday after she shared footage of being harassed by two men while preparing for a segment. She warned of “crude language,” in the caption of the clip that showed the men commenting on her appearance.
“Being hit on and harassed as a woman, especially as a woman reporter out in the field, happens so often you learn how to roll with it or ignore it. This time it happened to be recorded only seconds before my hit. There are A LOT of things wrong with this,” she explained in a tweet.
In the video, Hamblin is told “You look nice by the way,” as she stands before the camera to which she replied, “thank you.”
Hamlin’s attention turns toward her cell phone when she is approached by a white man who immediately begins to make suggestive comments.
“You’re beautiful as hell, god—,” the unidentified man said.
Hamblin once again politely accepted his comments but he persisted. He demanded to know why she was in front of the cameras.
“Go find a TV and watch Spectrum News,” she relayed to him with a forced smile.
The man continued.
“See that’s why I can’t be left alone with a Black woman,” the man declared and added that he couldn’t control himself around “mulatto” women, a racial phrase referring to people of mixed heritage. “Because I can’t stand these f—– white girls.”
“All right, we are done here,” Hamblin interjects, pursing her lips with visible discomfort. “Have a great rest of your day.”
At this point, the voices of the men become hard to distinguish. A man’s voice can be heard declaring, “You are sexy as f—.”
“Oh my God,” Hamblin responded.
Hamblin expounded on her discomfort via her Twitter thread and why she took exception to the catcalls disguised as compliments.
“Oh, men these days just can’t give compliments.” No. The first man’s “you look nice” as he continued to walk away is fine. It’s the 2nd man who took this to another disgusting level it didn’t need to be,” she wrote.
“The audacity of the things men say to me never ceases to amaze me. What makes you think women want to be talked to that way? In no way is this endearing. It’s uncomfortable. It’s gross.”
Hamblin added that she also did not appreciate the crass comparison that was made between her and women of different races.
“Being a Black woman in this industry has its own headaches, but talking down on one group of women to ‘praise’ another group is NEVER okay. It just shows you have a disgusting fetish based on stereotypes, which is just as racist.”
Hamblin also extended gratitude to photographer Scott Barlow for being present with her at the time she was approached. She shared her previous experiences of being propositioned and fearing for her safety.
“OH WAIT! One more thing: I was LUCKY I had @barstow_scott with me. At my last job, I had to deal with this type of stuff ALONE, like most women MMJs. It’s not safe. It’s scary. But the convo about the dangers of reporters working alone is for another day.
Some took exception that Barlow did not act on her behalf.
“I can say is it hurts to see this. I’m sorry I stood there while you have to hear that. This isn’t the first time you have heard this. I would say more like the 50th. I know it’s easy for me to say but it’s only words,” he posted in response to her thread.
Hamblin was met with support from other journalists, in particular, high-profile women of color such as Soledad O’Brien and theGrio’s the Vice President of Digital Content and Sr. Correspondent for TheGrio digital network, Natasha S. Alford, who related to her ordeal.
Spectrum News provided theGrio with a statement on Hamblin being sexually harassed while out on the field Friday.
“We are glad that Brianna wasn’t alone in the face of such adversity and we’ve never been more proud of her. She handled the situation impeccably, remaining calm and professional throughout. We want our employees to feel safe and are constantly working towards achieving that goal.”
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