A member of the Portland-based press collective 45th Absurdist Brigade said they were shoved by pro-Donald Trump demonstrators while covering a rally in Salem, Oregon, on Nov. 7, 2020.
The journalist, who requested anonymity because of fear of harassment from far-right groups, was pushed while covering one of the “Stop the Steal” rallies held around the country to promote President Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
In the wake of the election being called for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden that morning, about 200 people gathered outside the Oregon Capitol in the afternoon. Some of the protesters appeared to be affiliated with the Proud Boys, a far-right group, journalists told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker. Several other journalists documented harassing, threatening interactions with pro-Trump supporters while covering the Salem rally that day. Members of far-right groups have repeatedly attacked journalists in recent years.
Around 12:50 p.m. the member of the 45th Absurdist Brigade was crossing a street near the capitol building when a group of protesters started harassing the press collective member. The journalist, who was reporting with a partner, said they were both pushed.
“These guys came up to us and were like, ‘I recognize you, you’re antifa, you’re not real press, you’re fake,’” the journalist told the Tracker. “One guy especially was jostling me, and saying, ‘That’s a nice camera you have, I can use a new camera.’ Another one was calling me a ‘cunt’ and a ‘bitch.’”
Video of the incident posted on the 45th Absurdist Brigade Twitter account shows one of the pro-Trump demonstrators shoving the person filming. Another protester can be heard saying not to touch the journalist. The demonstrators can also be heard yelling “fake press” multiple times.
Garrison Davis, an independent Portland-based reporter, captured the incident from across the street in a video posted on Twitter. “Right-Wing demonstrators/Proud Boys harassed and assaulted members of the press,” tweeted Davis, who can also be seen getting harassed in the video.