U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Man arrested following assault of reporter during live broadcast

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 23, 2020
Shorewood, Illinois


Was the journalist targeted?
Screenshot via Daily Mail

An Illinois reporter was assaulted during a live broadcast by a man who grabbed her and yelled obscenities.

— Screenshot via Daily Mail
April 11, 2023 - Update

Man sentenced for grabbing Illinois reporter during live shot

The man who attacked WGN-TV reporter Gaynor Hall while she was reporting live in Shorewood, Illinois, was sentenced on April 11, 2023, according to court documents reviewed by the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

Hall was reporting on wind damage in the area in May 2020 when Eric J. Farina ran into the frame, grabbed her around the shoulders and shouted “Fuck her right in the pussy!” Farina was arrested for battery and disorderly conduct.

Farina pleaded guilty to the battery charge. He was sentenced to 24 months of supervised probation, 100 hours of community service, a letter of apology, and $1,000 in fines, costs, and probation fees. Judgment has been withheld pending the completion of his probation. The state declined to prosecute the disorderly conduct charge.

May 23, 2020

WGN 9 News reporter Gaynor Hall was assaulted while reporting live in Shorewood, Illinois, on May 23, 2020.

Hall was on air during the 10 p.m. newscast reporting on wind damage in the area when a man suddenly lurched into the frame, Buzzfeed reported. The man — later identified as 20-year-old Eric Farina — grabbed Hall around the shoulders and shouted “Fuck her right in the pussy!” before running off.

In a Facebook post about the incident, Hall wrote, “A brief note to the young man who jumped in my liveshot tonight: It was not funny. You violated my personal space. You grabbed me. You scared me. Was it worth it?”

Hall later updated the post to note that, with the help of viewers, Farina had been identified and arrested. Neither Hall nor the station responded to requests for comment.

Shorewood Police told WGN that Farina was charged with battery and disorderly conduct on May 24. Farina reportedly made a full confession to officers and was released on a $2,500 bond, WGN reported.

Both charges are misdemeanors, and Farina faces up to a year in jail and a fine if convicted.

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