LONDON (Reuters) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday condemned an attack on a BBC cameraman by a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.
Asked on Tuesday by Sky News whether it was acceptable for Trump to whip up his fans to the point that a cameraman was attacked, Hunt said: “It is never acceptable when journalists and cameramen are attacked just for doing their job.”
Wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, the man was seen shoving BBC camera man Ron Skeans before being pulled away on Monday, according to a BBC video.
Trump has frequently attacked the news media for what he views as unfair coverage, decrying some outlets as peddlers of “fake news” and “enemy of the people.”
News outlets have pushed back, with New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger joining others in saying that Trump’s language has increased the prospect of journalists facing violence, both in the United States and abroad.
“There is a broader issue here which is that last year 80 journalists were killed across the world just for doing their job,” Hunt said. “We are very worried about this.”
The BBC reported that the Trump supporter pushed and cursed at Skeans during the rally and published video of the encounter that ends with the supporter being restrained and moved away from the media area.
“Are you alright?” Trump asked after seeing the encounter, giving a thumbs up to the cameraman. “Everything OK?”
The BBC said it wrote a letter to the White House asking for a “review of security arrangements” for media covering Trump’s rallies. Skeans suffered no lasting harm, the BBC said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists also criticized Trump. “It’s outrageous that a journalist was attacked while covering a presidential speech,” Alexandra Ellerbeck, the nonprofit organization’s North America program coordinator, said in a statement. “We call on President Trump to moderate his rhetoric against the press and to state clearly that physically attacking media personnel is not acceptable.”
Reporting by James Davey; additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Stephen Addison and Jeffrey Benkoe