ESPN reporter Britt McHenry in Media Crossfire | media training

ESPN reporter Britt McHenry Destroys Reputation in Parking Lot | Media Training

ESPN reporter Britt McHenry was caught being nasty to a parking lot attendant last week. Really nasty. In full view of a security camera, McHenry trashed the female attendant’s teeth, education, weight, and class.

ESPN has suspended McHenry, some have suggested that was unfair, given that McHenry was not at work when the rude outburst occurred. But, unlike parking lot attendants, TV reporters are hired, in part, because of having good looks and, seemingly, winning personalities. It’s as if the young beautiful Britt pulled off a mask and revealed herself to be a 92 year old sea hag covered with facial warts.

You can’t have it both ways.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had bad, frustrating days when we have failed to give a low-paid service worker the benefit of the doubt. But there are degrees of obnoxiousness that civilized people will lower themselves to and McHenry seems to have crossed that line.

I’m not ready to write off McHenry’s career (In truth, I have never seen her reporting), but an incident like this can cause permanent career pain, even if it isn’t instant. 12 or 24 months from now, this can make the difference between getting the promotion to a primetime hosting position versus having a contract quietly lapse and being shown the door.

Remember, it’s not just Big Brother watching; it’s Little Sister and Medium Neighbor all with eyes on us these days.

TJ Walker is a media training expert. You can reach him at 212.764.4955


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