A woman believed to have been part of the media relations team for American University in Washington D.C. told a journalist that she did not have the right to record a protest on campus Thursday because it would interfere with their attempt to provide a “safe space” for people on campus.
The staffer has not been identified at this time, but she was immediately compared to Melissa Click, the University of Missouri communications professor fired this year for assaulting a student journalist during a protest last year.
The protesters were demonstrating against Milo Yiannopoulos, a tech editor for the conservative news site Breitbart, who is both admired and abhorred for his politically incorrect rhetoric and writings.
Washington Examiner journalist Ashe Schow said she was recording protests outside the packed event for an upcoming documentary film about campus free speech titled “Thought Police” when she was asked to follow a member of the university’s media relations team inside the building.
“We are not just providing a room, we’re providing also a safe space for everybody who works or studies on this campus,” the woman can be heard saying to Schow’s film crew in a video posted on Twitter by former Claremont Independent editor-in-chief Hannah Oh.
Another video posted to Twitter and YouTube by Schow shows their minder becoming angry with them. Schow, who likened the woman to Melissa Click, identified her as a member of the university’s media relations department.
“Excuse me, are you kidding me?” the woman says when she realizes she is being recorded.
“I’m calling the police,” she says before leaving to apparently do just that.
Schow said the police did arrive some time later, but only to pull the film crew’s intimidator aside to talk.
Schow said that the police who arrived were “super great” and that they gave the film crew permission to film without supervision.
Inside the ticketed event hosted by young Americans for Liberty, university administrators struggled to keep opposing viewpoints at Yiannopoulos’ lecture and Q&A from spilling over into a physical brawl as documented gleefully by Breitbart’s own reporters.
Several protesters were removed including one who tried to rush the stage.
But Schow was more interest in recording outside the event where protesters had gathered.
“We didn’t bother any protesters and they didn’t try to get us to leave,” Schow wrote on Twitter.
Camille Lepre, assistant vice president of University Communications at American University, on Friday told TheBlaze in a statement that Schow misrepresented who she and her three colleagues were working for. Lepre alleged that Schow had identified herself as a reporter for The Examiner before presenting herself as an independent documentary filmmaker after she was told to move inside.
“Ashe Schow and her three colleagues with professional audio-visual equipment presented herself as a reporter from The Washington Examiner and provided her business card.”
Lepre said that when “AU’s media representative was required inside the venue to assist other reporters who were present at the event, she asked Schow to go inside per the ground rules.
“[S]ince the protest continued outside, the reporter was permitted to remain and film the protest until it was over,” Lepre said.
Schow on Friday told TheBlaze she never said she was with The Examiner.
“I was not there in my capacity as an employee of the Examiner and we told her as much,” Schow added. “It didn’t matter. Even if I was there as a representative of the Examiner her actions were uncalled for. She wouldn’t give us a stable reason why we had to stop filming and go with her inside. Her answer kept changing. We were also the only people filming being treated this way.”
Schow says footage of most of the encounter was captured on one of the crew’s cameras but hasn’t been released.
Lepre hadn’t responded to PINAC’s emailed request for comment by deadline.