A viral video shows a local news reporter in Rochester being harassed by a man as she and her crew get ready to go live on the air.
Spectrum News Rochester’s Brianna Hamblin posted the “disgusting” encounter with the man, who proceeded to uncomfortably comment on Hamblin’s appearance while she was attempting to do her job.
The video, which has been viewed nearly 5 million times on Twitter, shows Hamblin setting up a shot when a man, who never appears on camera, asks to not be filmed. The cameraman and Hamblin assure him they are not yet rolling.
“You look really nice, though,” a first man says, before continuing on.
“Thank you,” Hamblin says politely. But a second onlooker took it to another level.
“You beautiful as hell. God damn,” he says, as Hamblin clearly becomes more uncomfortable on camera.
He asks her why she’s on camera, to which she politely and professionally replies, “Watch Spectrum News, you can find out. Go find a TV and watch Spectrum News. And you can find out.” She tells him what channel he can find the segment on.
However, the man persists with his increasingly sexual remarks.
“You see that’s why I can’t be left alone with a black woman, or a mulatto chick. Cause I can’t stand these f—ing white girls,” he says.
“Alright. We are done here,” Hamblin says. “Have a great rest of your day.”
“You are sexy as f–k,” the man says, before finally walking away.
The camera zooms in on Hamblin’s clearly stunned face.
“Oh my God,” she says, incredulously, as the video ends.
Hamblin posted a thread on Twitter responding to the encounter.
“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,” she wrote. “This time it happened to be recorded only seconds before my hit. There are A LOT of things wrong with this.”
“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.
“4.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.”
She finished the thread saying she was taking a break from social media for the day.
Twitter users praised Hamblin’s composure throughout the encounter and offered their support.
“The zoom in on your eyes broke my heart,” Helen Kennedy responded to the thread.
“You handled it admirably, lady. Sorry that was the start to your day,” Soledad O’Brien offered in a tweet.
The video has opened a dialogue on how women are treated and deal with uncomfortable situations, both professionally and publicly.
“People think that when we smile in uncomfortable situations means we are OK with what is happening at that moment,” user DelRose 30 said. “ On the contrary, we are trying to deescalate the situation and walk away with our lives.”
“The visible discomfort and the all too familiar forced coddling in hopes the situation doesn’t escalate was heartbreaking. Women should not have to endure this just to do their job,” another user added.