U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

VICE News journalist assaulted, camera damaged during Capitol riots

Incident Details

January 6, 2021

VICE News international correspondent Ben Solomon and cameraman Chris Olson were attacked by several rioters as they covered the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Demonstrators attempted to smash Olson’s camera, damaging the handle.

President Donald Trump spoke at a noon rally that day in front of the White House, promoting false claims of election fraud and calling for his supporters to march to the Capitol where lawmakers were certifying the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, reported the New York Times. Following the rally, pro-Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol, disrupting congressional action and occupying several areas within the building.

In a video Solomon posted on Instagram, demonstrators can be seen confronting the VICE journalists, shouting, "Get the fuck out of here!" and asking, "Who are you with? Is it CNN? Better not be CNN."

"Chris [Olson] had a broken handle grip and that guy in forest camo gave me a good hard shove to the throat," Solomon wrote in a caption with the Instagram post.

In Solomon’s VICE video story posted to Youtube, the camera is hit at 1:23 and Solomon's voice can be heard, "They tried to smash our camera."

"We were lucky to get away with minimal damage," Solomon wrote on Instagram. "To hear how many colleagues had it worse that day, I consider myself lucky."

As of press time, Olson had not responded to a U.S. Press Freedom Tracker request for comment. The Tracker documented Solomon’s assault here.

The Tracker is documenting assaults, arrests and other incidents involving journalists covering protests across the country. Find election-related coverage here.

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