National Geographic Photog Accused of Being Violent at Press Event


Photojournalists in the Philippines are accusing a National Geographic photographer of pushing and kicking a newspaper photographer at a recent press event.

Mike Alquinto, chairman of the Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines, held a press conference June 27 to protest Brent Stirton‘s behavior at a June 21 press event in Quezon City, in which government officials announced new measures to combat ivory smuggling in the country.

Stirton’s photo essay accompanying the 2012 National Geographic story “Blood Ivory” is widely credited with bringing attention to the country’s role in the gruesome ivory smuggling business.

According to Alquinto and several Filipino photographers, Stirton was physically abusive to Art Son, a photographer for the Abante tabloid, at the crowded press conference. Commentors at National Geographic and Stirton’s Facebook fan page made similar accusations against the photographer.

However, a filmmaker at the event said the charges were overblown. “I was there right next to Brent and saw no bullying, just a lot of whiny photographers who couldn’t wait there (sic) turn,” wrote Tim Gorski. Stirton has not publicly responded to the accusations.

Stirton, a native of South Africa, is a senior staff photographer for Getty Images and is known for his work covering environmental and human-rights  issues. He is a multiple winner of the World Press Photo and International Picture of the Year competitions, and his work has twice been recognized by the United Nations.

Image credits: Brent Stirton portrait via Canon Ambassadors Programme

  • Zos Xavius

    So what’s the real story? Why didn’t anyone take pictures?

  • PH

    since when tabloid paparazzi are photographers?

  • radiancedeluxe

    clearly a Chicago sun times reporter with an iPhone could have gotten a shot of the fight. pity.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    “Stirton was physically abusive to Art Son, a photographer for the Abante tabloid”

    With that, I’m taking this with a grain of salt.

  • Morgan Glassco

    Not one picture? I call shenanigans

  • pixeljammer

    Pictures or it didn’t happen. I mean, come on, they were photographers…

  • diego

    alquinto was overacting. simple as that

  • Eugene Chok

    since they take pictures for a living?

  • abugadi13

    Thanks Peta Pixel for highlighting this incidence … there is a formal police case filed against Brent Stirton unfortunately he left the country before this was settled … yes there was no pictures taken since it was during an outdoor press conference event because everybody was busy shooting … and it happened quickly … I hope Art Son or some other press photographers who were there would testify that this thing did happen and that we are not whining … we are just fighting what is right and just here and also a reminder specially to visiting press photographers shooting for a respectable news organization like the National Geographic … please behave on assignment … no need to be violent why kick another fellow news photographer when he is already down … if you feel you have a case just talk things through … the worst case was he did not even show remorse or guilt with his behavior during the assignment.

  • abugadi13

    Just sharing some news item proving that this event did happen … just proving that the case is more than whining but a case being raise by a lot of Filipino News Photographers who were there when it happened:

    ‘Meanwhile, a local mediaman is set to file charges against a foreign photographer who shoved and kicked him during the ivory destruction coverage.

    According to Arturo Son, a photographer of Abante newspaper, he will file physical injury charges against the foreigner identified as Brent Stirton of National Geographic for what he did.

    Son said that Stirton suddenly shoved and kicked him while they were jockeying for better coverage position.

    But instead of apologizing, the foreigner, he said, got mad and put the blame on him.

    Son suffered a bruise in the arm and complained of pain in the back after the incident.

  • Josh Jenkins

    Was there a reason for this violence? It seems like half a story.

  • abugadi13

    Well there are two side of the story … Brent’s and Art’s … but the issue here is it acceptable behavior for a news photographer to push and kick a fellow news photographer on a coverage and not even apologize for it :(