Look very closely. It’s an expression you’ve seen a thousand times. It’s an expression you most likely have worn yourself. The expression on New York City reporter Brianna Hamblin’s face as she is sexually harassed in public while trying to do her job.
Standing on a suburban footpath, getting ready for the live video to begin, Hamblin is interrupted when a male voice can be heard shouting, “you look really nice, though”. Hamblin says thank you, politely trying to deflect the attention.
“You beautiful as hell. God damn,” the man continues before inexplicably claiming “this is why I can’t be around black women.”
When he then continues probing her about being filmed, she tells him to “go find a TV and watch Spectrum News.” The comments from the man grow increasingly sexual and offensive in nature, before she finally responds, “Alright. We are done here. Have a great rest of your day.”
Following the incident, Hamblin posted the footage on her Twitter page, where it’s been viewed more than five million times.
The former CBS reporter hit back on Twitter, condemning the man’s actions.
“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.”
In her Tweets threads, she continued to lay out what she believes is the issue:
“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 second 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.
“Oh wait! One more thing: I was lucky I had @barstow_scott with me. At my last job, I had to deal with this type of stuff alone, like most women MMJs. It’s not safe. It’s scary. But the convo about the dangers of reporters working alone is for another day.”
Reaction and support was strong behind the young reporter, praising her for the way she handled the criminal behaviour.
“So glad you had a photographer out there to back you up,” one user wrote. “How uncomfortable! You handled it so well, though. Especially right before a hit.”