Guardian reporter thrown to the ground during protest at LA’s Wi Spa

July 17, 2021

Guardian reporter Lois Beckett was pushed to the ground by protesters around the Wi Spa in Los Angeles, California, on July 17, 2021.

The spa, located in L.A.’s Koreatown, became a flashpoint for anti-transgender demonstrators as the result of a viral video that police are now treating as a hoax, Slate reported. Beckett was covering protests and counter protests around the spa on Wilshire Boulevard.

Beckett, a senior reporter at the Guardian’s West Coast bureau, said on Twitter that she was thrown to the ground “as a crowd converged on me and chased me. They threw water at me and screamed about Jesus and said to grab my phone.”

She added that officers initially wouldn’t let her through the police line, but did after she was thrown to the ground. Beckett told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that she couldn’t comment immediately.

“I’m doing okay — if I had been left alone to run from the right-wing crowd in the street, rather than let through the police line, not sure that would be the case,” she tweeted later, adding she was wearing her press credential.

The Guardian said in a statement that it was alarmed by the treatment of Beckett, and that it was essential that she and her colleagues in the U.S. be protected as they carry out their jobs. “At a time when journalists and press freedom are under even greater threat around the world, we are concerned for the safety of journalists, who have a right to keep the public informed without facing danger.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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