A news reporter from England was called out by the internet on Tuesday after appearing to purposely touch the side of a woman’s breast during a live broadcast, according to the New York Post.
BBC News journalist Ben Brown was in the midst of a chat with media colleague Norman Smith, the network’s assistant political editor, regarding the country’s recent Labour Party election manifesto when an unnamed woman attempted to interrupt.
“[The] woman stepped into the [camera] shot and said, ‘absolutely fantastic,’ while looking directly at the [lens],” the Post details.
After Brown takes a quick glimpse at the woman, the reporter instinctively casts the unnamed individual out of the camera frame by touching his hand to the side of her left breast, and guiding her behind him.
“Just give us one second, please,” Smith then requests.
The woman reacts aggressively by popping Brown on the shoulder, before strolling off with a noticeable smile. The moment can be witnessed below.
Later that morning, the reporter took to Twitter to touch on the incident and explained that he only wanted to stay abreast of the conversation he was engaging in with Smith, not the woman’s antics.
Unfortunate interruption of broadcast in Bradford – just tried to minimise disruption but v tricky live on air – completely unintentional
— Ben Brown (@BenBrownBBC) May 16, 2017
Many of Brown’s followers, however, found his reasoning hard to believe.
@BenBrownBBC I just watched it several times. You had a good squeeze of her breast; sexual assault in my book. Disgusting. ????????
— Σκώτος κορίτσι (@ZkotosKoritsi) May 16, 2017
@BenBrownBBC You shouldn't have touched her at all. You've no right to. BBC don't own a public space. Shame on you!
— nobody (@jst_a_statistic) May 16, 2017
Incidentally, Brown’s hand does seem to appear to slide inside the woman’s jacket in the video, between the fabric of the covering piece of apparel and directly onto the woman’s breast, when he pushes her away.
Woman hits BBC presenter live on air after he appears to touch her breast – video https://t.co/t8IcEYLbc5
— The Guardian (@guardian) May 16, 2017
Nonetheless, many of the reporter’s fellow BBC journalists and employees stood up in defense of Brown, with one person instead noting the woman’s assault of Ben as being the bigger issue.
— bluesoup (@bluesoup) May 16, 2017
@BenBrownBBC Ben it was clearly an accident and you were concentrating on trying to do your job. Ignore the morons intent on finding evil in everyone.
— sawboinsider (@sawboinsider) May 16, 2017
Reps for the BBC have not shared whether the reporter received any formal complaints for his “bad touch,” but they did side with Brown’s take of events, calling the breast-brushing “a [clear] accident.”
In related news, a reporter from Iowa is facing serious consequences after breaking a court edict that bans filming of Chris Soules, an alum of The Bachelor, at his hit-and-run trial.
Elizabeth Amanieh, a reporter for NBC affiliate KWWL in Waterloo, is claimed by prosecutors to have obtained six minutes of exclusive footage from Soules’ April 25 court appearance in relation to his vehicular manslaughter charge from earlier this year, without “prior approval” of the overlooking judge or Chris’ legal counsel.
“Iowa court rules allow journalists to record video, audio and photographs of hearings as long as they have prior approval,” FOX News Entertainment explains.
“Prosecutors contend that Judge Linda Fangman told Amanieh she would not allow the station’s video cameras to record the hearing, and that only photos would be permitted,” the report goes on to say.
Iowa City prosecutors allege that Amanieh defied the order by filming the court proceeding, the first of Soules’ overall trial, on a hidden cellphone somewhere on her person.
She then allowed it to be posted on the news network’s official website, KWWL.com, where it was widely viewed.
If found guilty of being in contempt, Amanieh would be the first media personality in the state to be found guilty of such an act since 1983, when a group of Des Moines Register journalists were cited for failing to adhere to an order to keep a purported juvenile miscreant’s name out of their publication.
Legal defense director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Gregg Leslie, found the potential legal maneuver to be “rare and concerning.”
“You [really] don’t hear about it happening to reporters,” Leslie stated, “[and] this doesn’t seem like it’s a big enough problem to warrant a contempt charge.”
Amanieh has entered a not guilty plea and was scheduled for a May 12 hearing that has since been postponed indefinitely.
Additionally, BBC’s Ben Brown, the reporter who touched the woman’s breast in the viral video, has not offered further comment following his apologetic tweet.
[Featured Image by microgen/iStock]