AP tells DeSantis to stop aide’s ‘harassing behavior’
The Associated Press is urging Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to step in after it reported that his press secretary’s conduct resulted in an AP reporter receiving threats and other abuse online, according to the AP.
AP CEO Daisy Veerasingham wrote to DeSantis on Friday asking him to take action against aide Christina Pushaw’s “harassing behavior,” the news organization reported.
Twitter recently suspended Pushaw’s account for violating rules on “abusive behavior” due to her conduct toward reporter Brendan Farrington, the AP noted.
“You will ban the press secretary of a democratically-elected official while allowing the Taliban to live tweet their conquest of Afghanistan?” Pushaw said in response to the suspension, the AP reported.
Pushaw denied any wrongdoing toward Farrington despite retweeting his article with the caption “drag them” in a post that has since been deleted, according to the AP. In the story that Pushaw retweeted, Farrington noted that one of DeSantis’s multimillion-dollar donors invests in a company making the coronavirus treatment drug Regeneron, which the governor has been touting around the state.
Farrington tweeted Wednesday that he had received online threats about the story, according to the AP.
“For your sake, I hope government doesn’t threaten your safety. I’ll be fine, I hope. Freedom. Just please don’t kill me,” Farrington wrote.
The reporter’s Twitter account is now private.
Pushaw said the tweet was not meant to be a violent threat that resulted in people hurling abuse toward Farrington.
“As soon as Farrington told me he received threats, I tweeted that nobody should be threatening anyone, that is completely unacceptable,” Pushaw told the AP. “I also urged him to report any threats to police.”
AP’s vice president and managing editor Brian Carovillano said Pushaw’s tweets were especially over the line because she is a government official whose job centers around working with the press.
“There’s pushback, which we fully accept and is a regular facet of being a political reporter or any kind of reporter, and there’s harassment,” Carovillano told the AP. “This is not pushback, it’s harassment. It’s bullying. It’s calling out the trolls at somebody who is just doing his job and it’s putting him and his family at risk.”