BBC says its cameraman was attacked at Trump rally

Posted at 7:39 AM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 08:39:07-05
12 FEB 19 08:23 ET

(CNN) -- The BBC says that one of its photojournalists was attacked Monday while covering President Donald Trump's rally in El Paso, Texas.

"BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd," the broadcaster said in a statement. "The man was removed by security and Ron is fine."

Video released by the BBC appears to show a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat coming into contact with a cameraman and swearing before being led away.

"I didn't know what was going on," Skeans told the BBC. He described the contact as a "very hard shove."

The BBC said in its statement that it "is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job." The public broadcaster said Trump could see the incident, and "checked with us that all was ok."

CNN is seeking comment from the White House.

Trump has made hostility toward the media a feature of many of his rallies, where a metal barricade often separates his supporters from reporters. Some journalists have raised concerns over their safety.

Eleanor Montague, the BBC's Washington News Editor, said in a tweet that the El Paso crowd had been "whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night."

The BBC's Washington correspondent Gary O'Donoghue described Monday's incident as "an incredibly violent attack" in an interview with his employer.

"This is a constant feature of these rallies — a goading of the crowds against the media," O'Donoghue told the BBC. He added he had previously been "spat at" during a Trump rally.

CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta last year posted a video on Twitter that showed a hostile crowd at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida.

"I'm very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt," Acosta wrote on Twitter.

Some Republicans have called on Trump to stop his attacks on the media.

Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah and former Republican presidential nominee, argued last year that Trump's tactics are detrimental to democracy.

"Surely every president has endured stories that he knew were inaccurate and has chaffed at one or more news publications," Romney wrote in a blog post.

"But no American president has ever before vilified the American press or one of its professional outlets as an 'Enemy of the People.' "


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