U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Photojournalist assaulted while covering Andrew Yang mayoral campaign

Incident Details

Date of Incident
February 26, 2021
New York, New York


Was the journalist targeted?
February 26, 2021

According to news reports, Getty photojournalist Spencer Platt was assaulted by a man while covering New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign on Feb. 26, 2021.

The New York Post reported that the alleged assault occurred as Yang and company traveled by ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island. Platt was reportedly on the ferry’s upper deck and talking to a friend over the phone when a man approached him. “I said something like, ‘What’s up?’” Platt told the Post. “He immediately shoves me, I kind of tumble down. I get back up, and he raises a steel bar — a broomstick handle — over his head…. He looks like he’s ready to strike me.”

Platt did not respond to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker’s request for comment.

Yang reportedly noticed the commotion and ran to help the photojournalist. The Staten Island Advance reported that “the [assailant] recognized Yang, who engaged and calmed him, speaking with him briefly and allowing the photographer to get away from the tense situation.”

“I’m really grateful that he became less aggressive upon seeing me,” Yang told the City. “I had no certainty that he would know who I was, I just thought of myself as a bystander trying to defuse the situation”

According to the City, Platt reported the incident to New York Police Department officers on the ferry, who escorted the attacker away.

The photojournalist thanked Yang for the intervention, telling the City: “I’m not trying to plug the Yang campaign, but he did run up and confront the guy and led the charge. And when the guy turned around, I just bolted.”

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