Harry’s statement

This statement was posted by Harry Montevideo in The Red & Black Independent Newspaper Alumni Group on Facebook following photos posted on Twitter showing an altercation between Montevideo and a student reporter from Grady’s News Source:

“There was an “Open House” in our upstairs office, strictly for UGA students interested in working at The Red and Black. That was communicated by myself, to all the media representatives gathered in our lobby. I advised the media, that due to the number of interested parties, the statement would be read outside our west entrance, but until that time, they were welcome to stay inside the air conditioned lobby.

The individual in question, was asked repeatedly by myself and several of our other staff members, to remain downstairs with rest of the media (most all of whom complied). He and one other media representative made their way upstairs. After being advised of this by staff, I asked the first individual to turn off his camera and return downstairs and the first individual complied. I made the same request to the second individual and he became confrontational. After repeated verbal requests for him to turn off his camera and make some progress to the stairs, I began to escort him towards the doorway. As a result of either my assistance or his resistance, we both fell to the floor. When I regained my balance I stood up backed away and he exited the building, but only after a good deal of verbal assault towards myself.

I asked our business manager to call 911 just prior to him leaving, an ACC police officer arrived shortly thereafter and asked if we need any further assistance. I explained to the office what had happened and that the individual in had left the premises. I don’t believe the officer filled out a report.”

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20 thoughts on “Harry’s statement

  1. I’m no lawyer, but based on the video and photos, this seems like a pretty clear case of simple battery to me. Given that this statement takes no responsibility, offers no apology, and makes a accusation of “verbal assault” that the video shows to be risible, Mr. Montevideo probably ought to resign as well.

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  4. 1. “Strictly for students interested in working for The Red and Black” — not according to your advertisements. I remember seeing an invitation to “anyone interested in the situation.”
    2. “after repeated verbal requests” — not true. Unfortunately for your statement, sir, we can all see the video.
    3. “good deal of verbal assaults towards myself” — there were NO verbal assaults to you. This is a boldfaced lie.
    I don’t understand how any member of The Red and Black, past or present, could trust this guy after reading this.
    This letter, while on the surface is simply untrue, presents much more than Mr. Montevideo’s account. It puts on display his affinity for protecting his own behind over ethical decision making.

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  6. I still can’t get over the fact that his grammar is ridiculously wrong. How can anyone take his criticism seriously? What an idiot! He puts his commas and his hands in all the wrong places.

  7. Oh good grief. All you “revolutionaries” need to chill out. Did anyone ever consider the fact that perhaps the cameraman was informed about the no camera policy before his camera was on, and therefore that is why no record of it exists on this video? And as for Ms. Coambes’ statement “3. “good deal of verbal assaults towards myself” — there were NO verbal assaults to you. This is a boldfaced lie.”…were you listening to the video? The cameraman was extremely loud, extremely rude, and absolutely failed at handling the situation in a mature manner. If all you people want to see real change, start conducting yourselves like adults. Maybe then you’ll achieve even more of the results you’re hoping to see.

  8. From Facebook:

    Kristen Bergman Morales: “To be clear, the kid had already been told that members of the media — who were not considering applying for a job at the paper — were not allowed upstairs. Instead, he ran past the staffers at the door (and past the other members of the media who were waiting, professionally, downstairs), and when he got upstairs, he hid behind a cubicle wall and started filming. He knew he was in the wrong, and when Harry confronted him, he started yelling abnormally loud. As if he was simply trying to be a shit and cause a problem.

    As it was, he showed up an hour early, demanding that he be let upstairs and set up his equipment, then became belligerent when he was told that, no, you can’t just waltz into a private building and do what you want. Harry’s actions aren’t great, but this kid is an embarrassment who went looking for trouble.”

  9. I’m sorry but I have to disagree with you on the part about behaving like an adult. There was a simple solution to this…if he had asked the young man to leave and he did not then he could have called the campus police. But becoming quite physical with the guy was very immature..and quite frankly, “liable”.

  10. “As a result of either my assistance or his resistance”

    Having not watched the video, this seems like battery, for it is an acknowledgement of initiation of physical contact. I truly and deeply understand the frustration Mr. Montevideo must have felt, but then since the entire episode has been something of the Board’s creation, my sympathies are going to be limited. They of the Board made the problem, they of the Board need to take their PR lumps as men do.

    Whatever you folks at UGA do is up to you, as it is your school/alma mater and not mine, but from my limited perspective the Red and Black as ran by the board looks like a cross between a banana republic and fraternity alumni trying to relive their college days instead of letting the kids run things, for better or for worse. If I had a daughter, she would be strongly encouraged not to join such a cesspool of political intrigue absent some governance changes designed to prevent such from happening again.

    I hope it all works out. Good luck and good hunting.

    • I do want to say one more thing. I have read the statement from the Board on the Red and Black website. And for the record, as to this entire thing being a “misunderstanding”–please. Spare us the insulting of intelligences.

      I have a hard time believing that this episode was a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and I have no reason *not* to believe that, if the students had meekly gone along with the new arrangement, that even now the de facto editor of the Red and Black would be not a student, but the editorial director. It was the act of the students in resigning that fundamentally changed the equation, and nothing else.

      I therefore conclude that the true misunderstanding was not upon the students’ part as to what the Board intended to do, but upon the Board’s part in thinking that the students (or world) would accept it. I thus take the Board’s statement as spin, plain and simple; corporate-speak the journalists who sit on the Board would question if it came from a real company they were covering.

      It is things like this that confirm me in my belief that professional journalists are as flawed as any other group of Man, and that no special virtue or wisdom presides in one merely by possessing the title of “journalist”. Those of that ilk are as flawed as the rest of us, as petty, and as desirous of face-saving as any other. As with all of us, they need to be judged by their acts, not by their pedigrees. They of that ilk need to understand there are people out there in the great unwashed who are *quite* sick of journalists never owning up to their all-to-human ways. This affair is but of an all-too-frequent kind, where somehow, no matter what, the “professional journalist” is just somehow magically never wrong. Misunderstood perhaps, but never wrong.

      Well, bull.

      This affair was no “miscommunication”. It was a putsch. One the Board had a right to do, but a putsch nonetheless. It would be better if they of the Board owned up to it, admitted the mistake, and explained the motivations behind the move than resort to the spin that functionally makes claims of papal infallibilty look as humility defined in comparison. But I doubt that will happen.

      I once again hopes it works out.

  11. I think the problem here is that Mr. Montevideo has allowed himself to be pulled into a situation that is indefensible by acting like a child when confronted by someone else’s questionable actions. The decision to walk around the office with a camera was perhaps ill-advised but probably not illegal. Also possibly immature and perhaps intentionally provocative. The obvious answer would have been to delay the meeting, alert the campus police and let them do the job they’ve been trained to do.

    Montevideo instead decided to show ALL of his ass and commit actions that were 1. disproportionately forceful, 2. clearly illegal, and 3. just tacky. We have here what IT professionals often refer to as “a series of cascading failures.” Mr. Montevideo is in over his head: he has neither the leadership skill or the experience to manage a student paper, much less a student paper in crisis. The fact that this situation continues to spin out-of-control is fully his responsibility and his solution it to tackle a journalist and then cry “He started it!”

    Resign or reap the whirlwind, then, sir. You’re earning every bit of the opprobrium being heaped at your feet.

  12. Harry has acted righteous for YEARS. You can’t disagree with they guy whatsoever, the only way to survive with him is nod in agreement and tell him what an amazing job he is doing and how smart he is. Though, the whole time, his one saving grace was that he was a staunch supporter of the free student press. Now we find out that was the theory anyway. If he was such a strong supporter of student media as he claims, he’d have been the first to publicly declare the policy as against the interests of an independent student press. After those actions, he should resign, and take his retirement now, and it will be a nice big fat one.

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