U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

New York Post reporter threatened, kicked by woman wielding machete

Incident Details

Date of Incident
May 23, 2023
New York, New York


Was the journalist targeted?
October 2, 2023 - Update

Woman who kicked New York reporter ordered into therapy

The Hunter College adjunct professor who threatened and chased two New York City journalists with a machete must complete six to twelve months of behavioral therapy under the terms of a plea deal reached on Oct. 2, 2023, the Bronx District Attorney’s office told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker via email.

In May 2023, New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton and photojournalist Robert Miller attempted to interview Shellyne Rodriguez at her New York City apartment about a viral video of her confronting anti-abortion students at the college earlier in the month.

When Fenton knocked on Rodriguez’s door and identified himself as a Post reporter, she threatened him with a machete, told him to leave and held the weapon to his neck. The Post reported that Rodriguez then chased the journalists outside, threatened them again, and kicked Fenton in the shin. She was later terminated by Hunter.

Rodriguez pleaded guilty to menacing and harassment in connection with the attack on Fenton, per the terms of a conditional plea agreement, and must periodically update the court on her therapy treatment. A hearing is scheduled for May 15, 2024, to monitor Rodriguez’s compliance with the plea agreement and for possible sentencing.

The court also issued protective orders for both Fenton and Miller, which will continue at least through the hearing date.

May 23, 2023

Two New York Post journalists were threatened and chased by an adjunct professor at Hunter College when attempting to interview her at her New York City apartment on May 23, 2023.

Post reporter Reuven Fenton told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he and photojournalist Robert Miller knocked on the door of Shellyne Rodriguez’s Bronx apartment to ask about a viral video of her confronting anti-abortion students at the college earlier in the month.

“It was a very routine type of assignment,” Fenton said. “I knocked on the door — it was a soft knock, not what they refer to as a police knock — because I really wanted her to talk and I thought she might.”

The Post reported that after Fenton identified himself as a Post reporter, Rodriguez shouted, “Get the f–k away from my door, or I’m gonna chop you up with this machete!”

In footage published by the outlet, Rodriguez then opens the door and holds a machete to Fenton’s neck, yelling at him to get away from her door before going back into the apartment.

The Post reported that the journalists immediately left the apartment building, but Rodriguez followed them outside while still carrying the machete. After chasing Miller down the sidewalk, Rodriguez allegedly threatened them again and kicked Fenton in the shin as he tried to get in his vehicle. Miller did not respond to a request for comment.

Fenton told the Tracker that he was shocked by the incident.

“You just can’t be doing this stuff, and she doesn’t know me,” Fenton said. “I work for the New York Post, which a lot of people recognize as a sort of conservative publication, but I don’t know if she even fully registered what I said. I could have said I worked for The New York Times and I don’t know if she would have done anything different.”

In a statement to the art and culture publication Hyperallergic, Rodriguez said she had received numerous threatening messages and voicemails following the incident with the anti-abortion group.

“All this has taken a toll on my mental health, robbing me of my sense of safety, and creating reasonable fear that they would show up at my home to cause me physical harm, as has happened with so many other women who have similarly had their personal info exposed as a form of politically motivated harassment,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez could not be reached for additional comment.

Hunter College fired Rodriguez within hours of the incident, according to the Post.

Hyperallergic reported that Rodriguez was charged with menacing and harassment in connection with the attack on Fenton, and turned herself into police custody on May 25. Neither the New York Police Department nor the Bronx District Attorney’s Office responded to emailed requests for additional information.

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