U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Reporter asked to leave event after questioning New York governor

Incident Details

Date of Incident
June 23, 2024
New York, New York

Denial of Access

Government agency or public official involved
Type of denial
Government event

Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at the Latino Pastoral Action Center and Sanctuary in New York City on June 23, 2024, where a reporter was asked to leave after asking questions about one of her policies.

June 23, 2024

A senior reporter for the nonprofit newsroom New York Focus said he was “ejected” from an event held by Gov. Kathy Hochul in New York City on June 23, 2024, after she declined to answer questions from him about a controversial congestion pricing program.

Journalist Sam Mellins was attending Hochul’s speech at the Latino Pastoral Action Center and Sanctuary in the Bronx, where he repeatedly asked her about the program, which would have charged drivers higher tolls to enter Manhattan during peak hours but was abruptly blocked by Hochul earlier in June.

According to a published account by Mellins, Hochul went into a side room where security personnel barred the reporter from following. Mellins was told to leave the building and instructed to wait outside to ask questions of her there.

Hochul then apparently left by another exit, skirting him, as her security and press staff also left the building, Mellins wrote.

Mellins added that Hochul spokesperson Liam Buckley apologized for the ejection, saying it “shouldn’t have happened.”

Neither Mellins nor Hochul’s press office responded to a request for additional information from the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.

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