El Paso, Texas: The BBC has requested a White House review of security arrangements for the media after a Donald Trump supporter allegedly subjected a cameraman to an “incredibly violent attack” during a presidential rally.
A video clip of the attack that has been circulating on social media shows the moment a protestor sporting a Make America Great Again cap shoved and swore at BBC’s Ron Skeans and other news crews before being escorted by security out of the venue.
“BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd while covering a President Trump rally in Texas last night,” a BBC spokesman said in a statement on Wednesday (AEST).
Mr Skeans described the contact as a “very hard shove,” adding that he “didn’t know what was going on”.
The BBC said it “is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”
The public broadcaster wrote to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders following the attack, asking for a “review of security arrangements for the media attending the president’s rallies”.
Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, who is blind, said his colleague Mr Skeans had been filming a rally in El Paso, Texas, when the incident happened.
The BBC said that Mr Trump “checked with us that all was ok”.
“You all right? Everything okay?” Mr Trump asked the press, before proceeding with his speech.
Just attended my first @realDonaldTrump rally where my colleague BBC cameraman Rob Skeans was attacked by a Trump supporter. The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night #TrumpElPaso pic.twitter.com/Oiw8osPms3 — Eleanor Montague (@EleanorMontague) February 12, 2019
Describing what unfolded, Mr O’Donoghue said a supporter of Mr Trump got on to the reporters’ platform, and pushed the camera into his colleague, before continuing to push Mr Skeans.
“It was an incredibly violent attack. Fortunately our cameraman is fine, he is made of stern stuff,” Mr O’Donoghue told the Today programme.
Footage captured from Mr Skeans’ camera was posted to Twitter by Mr O’Donoghue and shows the shot focused on Mr Trump before jolting away.
As the camera appears to visibly bounce around for about 10 seconds, the screen then focuses on a man in a red cap who is being restrained by another man in a black t-shirt.
“This is a constant feature of these rallies – a goading of the crowds against the media,” Mr O’Donoghue added.
“I have been spat at before, they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular.”
Mr O’Donoghue said Mr Trump’s 2020 election campaign, which he thinks has begun, will be as “hostile and ill-tempered and divisive as the one we saw last time”.