Earlier today, we shared a viral video of student photojournalist Tim Tai being confronted by activists while photographing the ongoing University of Missouri protests. One of the main people under fire for their actions in the video is Melissa Click, an assistant professor of mass media.
Cameraman Mark Schierbecker has just posted a longer version of his video (embedded above) that shows Click’s role in the human media blockade more clearly.
At 7:10 in the video, after Tai has been shooed away by the protesters, Schierbecker finds himself in the center of the camp, which has been set up on public property. Turning to Click, he identifies as media and asks to speak to her. Here’s a summary of the exchange between the two:
Schierbecker: I’m media. Can I talk to you?
Click: No, you need to get out! You need to get out!
Schierbecker: No I don’t.
Click: You need to get out.
Schierbecker: I actually don’t.
Click: Alright. [Turns to the crowd and shouts]. Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here? I need some muscle over here! Help me get him out. Who’s gonna help me? [Turns back to Schierbecker]. You need to get out. You need to get out.
Schierbecker: This is public property.
Click: [In a mocking voice]. I know. That’s a really good one. I’m a communications faculty and I really get that argument. [Serious voice returns] But you need to go! You need to go. You need to go.
After Schierbecker is escorted out of the perimeter, Click makes the rounds to keep the media blockade going.
Click: Don’t let those reporters in. [Sees Schierbecker outside the circle]. Oh, he’s a good one. Good one! Good job! [Turns back to the students] If you have to go, find somebody to take your spot.
As the video started going viral, the public began speaking out against Click’s actions and calling for her firing/resignation:
Official statement: I will not allow students to silence dissent by becoming a human meat wall that rolls over journalists doing their jobs.
— Mark Schierbecker (@Schierbecker) November 10, 2015
@melissaclick was that you on the video calling for "some muscle" to remove a student journalist from a public space?
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 9, 2015
— producer kenny (@ProducerKen) November 10, 2015
As a university administrator, an educator and a journalist, I find the behavior of @baslerjd and @melissaclick deplorable.
— David Boardman (@dlboardman) November 10, 2015
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) November 10, 2015
Some angry people have taken things too far:
Have learned that some people in the video with me are getting death threats. That's unacceptable and sickening.
— Tim Tai (@nonorganical) November 10, 2015
My personal intention has never been to vilify the people in the video and I'm not sure why anyone thought it was OK to send them threats.
— Tim Tai (@nonorganical) November 10, 2015
The outcry has been so great that Click deleted her Twitter account.
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder issued a statement today about the treatment of photographers and reporters.
On Sunday I stood by the rights of protesters to have their voices heard while also urging the need for governance by University of Missouri leadership. Today, I’m standing for another First Amendment right, the freedom of the press. Actions on Monday by University faculty and staff to infringe on students’ First Amendment rights directly contradict what is taught at our universities. This incident must be examined, and if found necessary, disciplined.
Faculty and staff cannot be allowed to pick and choose which rights, viewpoints and freedoms they respect. I renew my call to restore law and order on campus, so the rights of all are protected. The University of Missouri is funded by taxpayers. It is imperative that it be a place where freedom is paramount and all voices are heard.
Missouri School of Journalism is one of the oldest formal journalism schools in the world and also one of the most prestigious. Click is in a different division of Mizzou, the Department of Communications, but Missouri School of Journalism has spoken out against her actions and held a faculty vote today to revoke Click’s “courtesy appointment” in the school.
Update: Click has issued a statement apologizing for her actions:
Update on 11/11/15: Click has resigned from her courtesy appointment in the Missouri School of Journalism.