In the four days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston harrowing stories of resilience and survival have dominated the headlines- but one news story, in particular, has drawn harsh criticism for painting Houstonians searching for food at a flooded supermarket as criminals, accusing people looking for provisions for survival as “looters”. Tom Llamas, the chief national correspondent for ABC News decided to report “looters” to police and decided to laud himself for doing so on Twitter. Instead of praise, the internet dragged the reporter accusing him of lacking empathy and ethics Llamas later deleted his original tweet but justified his decision to report the incident as a crime in progress based on the individuals having their faces covered, and that police were already close investigating the discovery of a dead body nearby.
As reported by Raw Story:
Tom Llamas, the weekend anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight, tweeted, “We’re witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston and police have just discovered a body nearby.”
“We informed police of the looting and Coast Guard is flying overhead. Multiple officers now on the scene.”
Llamas deleted the tweet acknowledging he reported “looters” at a Fiesta supermarket to police (screenshot of deleted tweet).
It has been four days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm.
“Llamas, who has previously won awards for his coverage of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, is clearly no stranger to the devastation they can cause or the frenzy they can set off in those who are just struggling to survive within them,” the AV Club noted. “In light of Llamas’ clarification, some have also recommended Tom Llamas wade right into that supermarket, find the largest extant pineapple, and go f*ck himself with it—but only after paying for it. Anyway, be sure to follow Tom Llamas for more hard-hitting investigative stories about people fighting for their lives and where the police can arrest them.”
A similar tone criticizing Llamas’ personal values and journalistic integrity spread quickly across the internet.
Read the tweets below to see how folks on Twitter brutally dragged Llamas:
“some poor people were taking food in order to survive and I wasn’t about to fucking have that” pic.twitter.com/d6OTIIDTnW
— Uglúk’s Food Truck (@circus_cannon) August 29, 2017
Hi Tom, the city has asked us to only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies. I’m sure you were very scared but this wasn’t one.
— Robert Anderson (@thatdarnedbob) August 29, 2017
Ty for clearing this up. Some reporters have risked their lives to save others, & you chose to be snitch & rat out people trying to survive
— Happened in Florida (@idavidro) August 29, 2017
thank goodness, now that food can stay where it belongs – in a flooded supermarket where its gonna have to be thrown out soon anyway
— DJ JDPON (@aflightybroad) August 29, 2017
Consider what you would do if you were in the same position. What do you think about Llamas calling hurricane survivors searching for food “looters”? Do you think people trying to survive by taking food from an already abandoned grocery store that would have gone bad anyhow, should have been reported to police? Have your voice heard in the comments below.
(Article by Tasha Sharifa)