U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Independent journalist harassed, phone knocked to ground at UCLA protests

Incident Details

Date of Incident
April 29, 2024


Was the journalist targeted?

Pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israel counterprotesters gather at the encampment on UCLA’s campus on April 29, 2024. Multiple individuals harassed and assaulted journalist Sean Beckner-Carmitchel while he was covering the demonstrations.

April 29, 2024

Independent videographer Sean Beckner-Carmitchel was repeatedly harassed and his phone knocked to the ground while reporting on a pro-Israeli counterprotest to the pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, on April 29, 2024.

UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, reported that protesters had erected the encampment on campus April 25 to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war and demand that the UC system divest from companies that invest in weapons manufacturers for the Israeli military.

A large, pro-Israeli counterprotest was organized next to the encampment, with barricades erected to separate the groups, Reuters reported. Beckner-Carmitchel told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he was headbutted and shoved by a man while reporting on the clash between the two groups on April 28.

Throughout his coverage the following evening, Beckner-Carmitchel said, multiple individuals targeted him for harassment and assault.

“At one point, one of the pro-Israel protesters stood in front of me and blared an air horn directly in my ear for like five minutes straight,” he said. “They also threw what I’m guessing was a wadded up sign at my head at one point.”

In footage Beckner-Carmitchel posted on Instagram, an air horn can be heard resounding as he filmed counterprotesters attempting to break into the encampment. He added that at various points individuals called him slurs, knocked the phone from his hands and came up from behind him and blew a whistle in his ear.

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