By now, you've probably heard about the scandal surrounding ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, who went off on a towing lot employee this week in an angry rage, according to a video that was later leaked. No one likes having to deal with car problems, but when her car was towed, McHenry took out her anger personally on the female employee working at the tow lot. Her insults included:
I’m on television and you’re in a f—–g trailer, honey.
Lose some weight, baby girl.
McHenry has been placed on a week's suspension from ESPN. The network's actions have stirred up controversy from people who have strong opinions on both sides of the debate — whether her suspension was too much punishment, or too little. McHenry has apologized, claiming she made a mistake in a stressful moment, but others have said the reporter should be fired permanently for her conduct.
In response to her suspension, the towing company released a statement on Friday saying they had no interest in ending McHenry's job.
Parking enforcement is contentious by nature. At the same time, neither Gina, our lot clerk, nor our company, have any interest in seeing Britt McHenry suspended or terminated as a result of her comments.
At 28 years old, McHenry is a young reporter, who just began her career on ESPN last year. When she was hired, senior vice president of the network Vince Doria sang her praises:
In a relatively short time, Britt has established a reputation for strong, aggressive reporting in the D.C. area, and an ability to land big interviews. Her presence there will be a great benefit to ESPN's newsgathering and, as with all of our bureau reporters, she will be assigned to high-profile stories around the country.
Before joining ESPN in March 2014, McHenry worked for WJLA-TV in Washington, DC. She joined the station in 2008 and became a member of the sports staff in 2010. McHenry graduated from Stetson University in 2007 and attended Northwestern University's Graduate School of Journalism.
McHenry is far from the first ESPN personality to be suspended, even in the past year. Keith Olbermann, Stephen A. Smith, Bill Simmons, and Dan Le Batard have all been told to take time off recently for varyingly offensive offenses. Olbermann was suspended in February for tweeting rude insults at Penn State University students, but his mistake paled in comparison to Smith's July 2014 suspension for making comments that insinuated victims of domestic violence "provoked" their abusers.
So while McHenry's suspension may be a bad PR moment for her public profile, she shouldn't fear that it will mean the end of her career.