Portland, Oregon reporter Chris Willis, who works for NBC-affiliate KGW (Channel 8), and his boss, executive news director Rick Jacobs, apologized for victim-blaming and insensitive comments that were made on tape following an interview with a man accused of rape.
Willis was interviewing local musician Joel Magid, who has admitted to sexually assaulting a woman but not to a rape accusation. “In the original version of the video, after the interview ends, the interviewer [Willis] continues speaking to Magid about the woman who accused him of rape,” The Oregonian reported. (The video has since been removed).
Lissa Casey, Magid’s lawyer, tells Willis that she thinks Magid’s accuser is a burlesque dancer. After Willis responds not knowing that there is burlesque in Portland, he adds, “I’m hanging in the wrong social circles.” Then a person setting up lights for the interview says, “And then you’re a victim of that. You’re victimized.”
— doug brown (@dougbrown8) September 23, 2016
Willis apologized on his Facebook page, saying he didn’t mean to “offend” anyone but knows that he made “offensive” comments. His apology statement reads:
“A note to my Facebook fans: I am sorry for the comments I made in a recent interview that was published on KGW’s website. They do not reflect my views or values. I did not intend to offend anyone in any way and I apologize unreservedly for what was said. I understand the remarks I made were offensive. That was not my intent, but it was the result and I am devastated by that. I sincerely apologize and pledge to learn from this experience as I continue to cover the important issues affecting our community.”
Jacobs apologized in a statement published by The Oregonian.
“During an interview we recently posted on our website regarding Portland musician Joel Magid, our staff made insensitive comments.We apologize for those comments. We understand that these comments were offensive, and we have removed the interview from our website.”
One of Magid’s lawyers, Mike Arnold, told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “We were disappointed that KGW reneged on their word and deleted the interview from the internet. Transparency in the media is important and so is sticking to your word.”
iMediaEthics has reached out to Willis and KGW for further comment.
Hat Tip: Mediaite