Award-Winning Photographer Manhandled Out of Political Convention
A press agency photographer was manhandled out of a major political convention after a “misunderstanding” between venue security staff.
Photographer Tolga Akmen was covering the Conservative Party conference in the U.K. for the Europan Pressphoto Agency (EPA) when security guards bundled him out of the venue as he protested.
The disturbing footage, seen above, starts with a security staff saying: “You have to leave because you’re being quite aggressive,” as he drags the unwilling photographer out of a door.
Akmen protests by saying: “I’m not being aggressive…I”m not doing anything. Just leave me be, I’m a member of the media.”
Three security staff frogmarch the photographer out, who is carrying two large Canon lenses on each shoulder.
“I didn’t do anything, I promise you, I didn’t do anything,” he says to one staff member who simply threatens that the police will be called.
Left in the Rain
Akmen told PA news agency that he was “thrown out” in the rain without his camera gear and jacket, but later retrieved them.
“I don’t see anyone else being told off and I do not know why they picked on me. I happen to be someone who argued back, and they don’t [take] kindly to that,” he says.
“We should have access and are accredited media. I showed them my press card. I have never had anything like this happen in my life,” he explains.
“I had to wait in the rain with my T-shirt for an hour and a half until a colleague could get my gear to me,” he adds.
Akmen says the incident started after being refused access into the conference hall, despite flashing his media pass.
He then went to another entrance where he overheard a radio message from a security guard that described his appearance and stated that he had been “acting aggressively and needed to be stopped.”
Today @epaphotos photographer @TolgaAkmen suffered a regretful incident while doing his job at the #ToryConference CCHQ has shared the following statement with @epaphotos . pic.twitter.com/AM2erofAyn
— european pressphoto agency (@epaphotos) October 5, 2022
EPA tweeted out the above statement they had received from the Conservative Party apologizing for what happened.
“We are aware there was [an] incident earlier today where a photographer was removed by venue security staff. We believe there may have been a misunderstanding and have been in contact with the photographer to apologize.”
Akmen won the Getty Images Young Photographer of the Year 2016 award and the Fixation News Photographer of the Year 2019 award, according to his website where his stellar photos of Joe Biden, Queen Elizabeth II, Lady Gaga, and Donald Trump underline his credentials.
The British Conservative Party, commonly known as the Tories, is currently holding its annual conference in Birmingham where new Prime Minister Liz Truss is already facing difficulties after the tax cuts she announced just a few weeks into the job caused markets to panic sending the pound to an all-time low against the dollar.