TV Reporter Shares Harrowing Experience Enduring Sexual Harassment In The Field
The journalist highlighted what it’s like for her as a Black woman facing racism and revolting unwanted advances while on the job.
07/24/2021 12:07 PM ET
Updated Jul 28, 2021
New York local news reporter Brianna Hamblin shared a video on Twitter on Friday that showed the moments she was recently sexually harassed while out in the field reporting.
Hamblin, who works for Rochester’s Spectrum News 1, was seen on camera, moments before she was going to begin her news report, enduring harassment from men walking by.
One man can be heard telling Hamblin, “You look nice by the way,” as he appears to walk away. As Hamblin attempts to return to her job, she is then approached by another man who walks out of the view of the camera, but lingers nearby.
“You’re beautiful as hell,” he says to the reporter. A visibly uncomfortable Hamblin replies and tries to redirect the man’s attention by encouraging him to “Go find a TV and watch Spectrum News,” she said.
But the man, who appears white, continues to harass Hamblin by invoking fetishizing comments about her Blackness and using a racist term to describe biracial people.
“See, that’s why I can’t be left alone with a Black woman ... or a ‘mulatto’ chick. Because I can’t stand these fucking white girls,” he says. “You are sexy as fuck.”
“All right, we are done here,” Hamblin says, trying to de-escalate the situation. “Have a great rest of your day.”
“Oh my God,” she adds, after staring directly at the camera.
See the exchange below:
WARNING: CRUDE LANGUAGE
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. pic.twitter.com/5Ok58Vm7e0
Hamblin addressed the encounter in a series of tweets, saying that being harassed as a female reporter “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,” she added.
1.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?
2.“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.
3.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 pointed out in subsequent tweets that the second man, in particular, used “disgusting” language toward her, calling the situation “uncomfortable” and “gross.”
“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,” she later added. “It just shows you have a disgusting fetish based on stereotypes, which is just as racist.”
Hamblin later noted that she felt grateful that her colleague, Scott Barstow, was with her. She pointed out that she often endures harassment when she’s working alone.
“It’s not safe. It’s scary. But the convo about the dangers of reporters working alone is for another day,” she added.
“We are glad that Brianna wasn’t alone in the face of such adversity and we’ve never been more proud of her,” a spokesperson for Spectrum News said in a statement to HuffPost. “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.”
Hamblin received wide support after recounting her experience on Twitter, with many women sharing their own stories of facing similar harassment in various situations.
So sorry you have to deal with this in any way at all. You’re a terrific reporter. Thx!
If I was a woman, I would have been out of this industry a looooong time ago. I’ve seen, read, and heard some of the things you deal with, but I’m guessing I only know 5% of it. But that 5% is enough to drive me away. You’re way stronger than I am. Sorry doesn’t begin to cut it.
I don’t have the words. So so sorry.
Women are well aware of the harassment other women face in the field. But not everyone recognizes that Black women can be targeted and put in an even more vulnerable position. We must exercise more vigilance as colleagues. We must do a better job of looking out.
To everyone surprised at this behavior, I promise you this does not shock a single female reporter. Happens to us all the time.
So glad you had a photog out there to back you up. How uncomfortable! You handled it so well, though. Especially right before a hit.
Hamblin thanked her Twitter followers for their support on Saturday, writing, “I see it and I appreciate it so much.”
“To all the women who related to this, I’m sorry and want to give you a big virtual hug,” she added. “Thank you for sharing your own experiences too so men realize how common and unwanted this is.”
Thank you to all who have said such kind things to me. I see it and I appreciate it so much ❤️. 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
Trends Reporter, HuffPost
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