An ABC reporter has been roundly lambasted online after reporting some events he witnessed in an...unfortunate order Tuesday morning in Houston.
Tom Llamas was tweeting live from Houston, describing what he saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Here is the offending tweet:
#Breaking We're witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston & police have just discovered a body nearby— Tom Llamas (@Tom Llamas) 1504023962.0
Not so bad upon first look, right? Here are the things people had a problem with.
First, there was a since-deleted tweet from Llamas saying he and his ABC team had informed police of the looting and that the Coast Guard was now flying overhead as a preventive measure.
Second, the order of the tweet makes it appear Llamas was more concerned with the looting than the discovery of a dead body, which may have been someone killed in the hurricane or resulting floods.
@TomLlamasABC So, in your #BREAKING announcement, hungry folks looting food (aka survival) takes precedence over the discovery of a body?— Danula (@Danula) 1504025695.0
Third, people took offense with Llamas labeling the people taking food and supplies as looters, saying that in that desperate time of need they were simply doing what they needed to do to survive.
@TomLlamasABC Your privilege is showing, sir. Where is your empathy? Did you stop anyone to ask y? It's one thing i… https://t.co/SYBFcEbyS4— OGBlack (@OGBlack) 1504027180.0
Finally, some believed Llamas was trying to imply a connection between the "looters" and the dead body, when no such connection was evident.
Now let's be fair to Llamas. He's reporting from a difficult and high-stress environment, and Twitter is never the place to go for nuance in reporting or statements. Llamas tweeted a clarification later, claiming he was already with police who had discovered the dead body. While with police, Llamas and his team mentioned that people with covered faces were going into a nearby supermarket.
I'm willing to give this reporter the benefit of the doubt. Who among us hasn't typed a text message or a tweet in an unflattering way because we were distracted or in a hurry? It sounds like he had a lot going on at the moment.
What do you think? Are people being too sensitive, or was Llamas truly out of line for his remarks?