Reporter Brianna Hamblin was berated and demeaned by two men on the street as she was getting ready to film a news segment. But she’s fighting back. The reporter for Spectrum News 1 in Rochester posted the video on Twitter, using her platform to spread awareness of the verbal abuse female reporters endure in the media industry.
The video shows two men making disgusting comments to Hamblin while she set up for a news report. Hamblin, who formerly worked at CBS19 News, was waiting to film her on-the-street segment when the men approached her from behind. The interaction quickly escalated and the disgusting comments became full-on verbal abuse.
Brianna Hamblin felt fortunate that she could expose the altercation and shed light on the harassment female reporters face every day.
In the video Hamblin posted on Twitter, the two men walk up from behind the reporter as she is looking at her cell phone. “Hold up,” one man says, pointing to the recording equipment. “Turn the f—king light off.”
Hamblin, visually stunned, waits patiently while the pair passes. Scott Barstow, the videographer, assures the men that he isn’t on yet and they weren’t being broadcast at that moment. Brianna Hamblin also tells the men that “we aren’t on yet, thank you,” while Scott explained that they will be in “20 seconds.”
The interaction then transforms into something more when the second man, who was previously trailing behind the first, looks at the Spectrum News reporter up and down before telling her “you look nice by the way,” to which Hamblin responds with a simple “thank you.”
Unfortunately, the men don’t stop there. Continuing the inappropriate compliments, one man shouts “beautiful as hell, goddamn!”
The other man, who is off-camera at this point, threatens the videographer, telling him “I better not be on motherf—king camera.” When Barstow tells him he isn’t, the man asks, “well why are you over here with a camera, though?”
Trying to alleviate tension and get the men away, Brianna Hamblin answers the man’s question, telling him that they can “watch Spectrum News and they can find out. Go find a TV and watch Spectrum News. You can find out.”
“For what reason?” one of the men shouts from the side. Hamblin tells them to “go watch the news and you can find out.” She then tells them the specific channel they can watch the news story on and one of the men nods his head in understanding. Still, the other one is persistent.
“See, this is why I can’t be left alone with a Black woman,” one of the men says, comments that visually affect Brianna Hamblin. To remain civil, the reporter purses her lips and nods her head. The man then adds that he can’t be controlled around a “Mulatto chick,” which is a racial slur that references women of mixed African and European descent.
The conversation escalates even further. The man explains that he “can’t stand these f—king white girls,” to which the reporter responds, saying “okay, we are done here. Have a great rest of your day.” The men, whose voices trail off as they walk away, continue to make offensive comments.
“You are sexy as f—k,” one man says. The rest of the comments are inaudible as the two men move away from the camera.
Scott Barstow zooms in on Brianna Hamblin’s upset face as she continues to listen to the demeaning commentary. When the men are far enough away, Hamblin whispers to herself: “Oh my god.”
The disturbing interaction was posted on Twitter and has since garnered tens of thousands of retweets and more than 100,000 likes. Hamblin captioned the video, warning audiences of crude language before explaining that “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.”
The reporter continued, saying that “this time it happened to be recorded only seconds before my hit. There are A LOT of things wrong with this.” Brianna Hamblin did not stop there, though. In seven subsequent tweets, the Spectrum reporter went on the explain the issues in the video and shed light on an ongoing problem for women in the media industry.
“If you don’t want to be on camera, simply avoid it or ask nicely to not be on camera. Don’t walk towards it or make a scene. Who said this was about you?” Hamblin wrote. She then brought forth a hypothetical response to the video, in which commenters might say: “Oh, men these days just can’t give compliments.”
“No,” Hamblin wrote in response. “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. 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.”
Brianna Hamblin then referenced the racist remark during the encounter. She explained that while “being a Black woman in this industry has its own headaches… 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.”
Concluding her thread, Hamblin said that she was lucky enough to be accompanied by her cameraman, Scott Barstow, but pointed out that man female reporters have to deal with “this type of stuff, ALONE.” She said that “it’s not safe. It’s scary. But the convo about the dangers of reporters working alone is for another day.”
The comments below the thread were extremely supportive of the Spectrum News reporter. Many commenters pointed out that the situation was disgusting and disturbing, claiming female reporters don’t deserve such verbal abuse.
Responding to the overwhelming support, Brianna Hamblin posted again on her thread early Saturday morning. “Thank you to all who have said such kind things to me. I see it and I appreciate it so much,” she wrote. “To all the women who related to this, I’m sorry and want to give you a big virtual hug. Thank you for sharing your own experiences too so men realize how common and unwanted this is.”