Portland Mercury reporter Kelly Kenoyer shoved while filming Patriot Prayer rally

June 3, 2018

Portland Mercury reporter Kelly Kenoyer was shoved while covering a far right rally in Portland, Oregon, on June 3, 2018.

“It was a scary experience—the first violent protest I've covered, and I had a bit of that violence directed at me,” she wrote in a piece for Portland Mercury.

Kenoyer told Freedom of the Press Foundation that she began covering the Patriot Prayer rally around 4 p.m., at which point there were around 20 people aligned with the far-right Patriot Prayer group and over 100 anti-fascist protesters present.

While filming a verbal confrontation between a Patriot Prayer demonstrator and a counter-protester, she said, a Patriot Prayer protester tried to grab her phone and shoved her backwards.

Kenoyer was able to film part of the altercation and later posted the video on Twitter.

“As [I filmed], the man (a masked up guy on the Patriot Prayer side), flipped me off, directing that hand towards the phone,” Kenoyer said. “Then he pushed his hand into my phone, shoving it into the side of my head/face, and pushed me over.”

After being pushed, Kenoyer identified herself as a reporter, and a bystander approached to try to defuse the situation. Kenoyer said that the man who shoved her and another Patriot Prayer demonstrator then then began yelling at the bystander.

“Things escalated from there and I ended up getting shoved backwards — I think they shoved the bystander into me,” she said. “I stumbled backwards and a random counter-protester caught me. He apologized for touching me and said he wanted to make sure I didn’t fall.”

Kenoyer said she felt frazzled after the altercation and took a moment to gather herself back together before getting back to work.

She said that she does not think that anyone was specifically targeting reporters for harassment, but protesters on both sides objected to being filmed.

"Neither side particularly wanted to be filmed," she said. "Antifa activists also told me not to film, though they didn’t physically assault me over it.”

Kenoyer also noted that a different Patriot Prayer member filmed her and said, “You like that, bitch?!” She clarified later that day to the woman that she was a reporter.

Last year, Kenoyer was also signaled out and threatened by right wingers on social media after writing for Eugene Weekly about the impacts of doxxing by the right on anti-fascist activists.

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

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