COLUMBUS (WCMH) — NBC4 Columbus reporter Adrienne Robbins was covering the May Day protest outside the Ohio Statehouse Friday afternoon when she was approached by a protestor, who berated her for the station’s coverage of coronavirus in Ohio.
Robbins says she asked the unidentified woman to respect social distancing after she moved closer to her and yelled in her face as she emphatically accused Robbins of terrifying the public with her reporting of the facts.
The interaction was caught on camera by Cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock.
“You know that the company you work for is lying to the American people. And you know that what you are doing is wrong at the end of the day. You know it. You are shaking. You are terrifying the general public!” the woman yelled in the video, pointing in Robbins’ face.
In a live interview on NBC4 after she covered Governor Mike DeWine’s Friday coronavirus briefing, where he addressed the new Stay Safe Ohio order that extends some stay-at-home protocols while allowing for the slow reopening of the state’s economy, Robbins said she is fine, and thinks the extension of the order is bringing out a lot of emotions out for people.
“The person who was talking to me seemed like she had a very big problem with the media, and that was her main focus,” Robbins said. “Other people are obviously concerned with their jobs and the stay-at-home order.”
NBC4’s Colleen Marshall asked Robbins to talk about the encounter in the NBC4 News at 6.
“Emotions are certainly running high outside of the statehouse. Anytime someone is following you and being aggressive like that, it can be scary,” Robbins reflected.
“We are proud of Adrienne’s ability to keep her composure in the midst of a dangerous situation. She is a smart journalist who takes her responsibility to inform the public seriously. She behaved safely. She wore her mask, kept her cool and kept her distance when that protester came too close. We’re glad Adrienne is ok. Tonight, Adrienne is where she wants to be: still on the story,” said Denise Eck, News Director of NBC4.
“The First Amendment of the Constitution protects ‘the right of the people to peaceably assemble,’ that same amendment protects the rights of a free press. Thomas Jefferson said ‘The only security of all is in a free press.’ Arguably the most important amendment, this fundamental tenet is the foundation all our other freedoms,” said Ken Freedman, VP & General Manager of NBC4. “As members of the free press, as we fervently respect the right of protesters, we remind those that protest the word “peaceably” precedes the right to assemble. The rights we enjoy as American’s are the rights of all, regardless of where our personal opinions align.”