“Harassing journalists is seen as a patriotic duty," independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg tells Status Coup after being verbally harassed at Proud Boys rally in Los Angeles
The Proud Boys pride apparently softens when independent journalists simply record their actives at…Proud Boy rallies.
That’s what happened on Saturday as independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg, a frequent freelance contributor for Status Coup, covered the Proud Boys “Fall Love Fest” rally in Los Angeles for Status Coup.
The rally, the third-leg of gatherings the group held after Portland Oregon and Tacoma Washington—both of which had shootings occur—had been promoted ahead of the event Saturday before organizers abruptly posted a CANCELED sign over the poster due to the city refusing to grant the group a permit to hold the rally.
But Proud Boys held the rally anyway, resulting in independent journalist Tina-Desiree Berg, a frequent freelance contributor for Status Coup whose covered Proud Boys, MAGA, and “medical freedom” rallies in Los Angeles for over a year, showing up with her camera to cover the event.
Well, rallygoers sure didn’t like Desiree Berg’s presence—or previous coverage of their often violent actions.
[Watch Tina’s on-the-ground reporting for Status Coup from the rally below]
“Antifa press,” Tony Moon, a rallygoer who was also present on January 6th at the Capitol Hill insurrection, said as he approached Desiree Berg.
“So what brings you by, you going to dox people today?” Moon continued, going on to accuse Desiree Berg of being an “Antifa sympathizer.”
[For the record, Desiree Berg never doxxed Proud Boys members or rallygoers nor does she work for, or with, Antifa.]
Moon also condemned Desiree Berg for “talking shit about us” to the Los Angeles Times.
This “talking shit” was in reference to an LA Times story reporting on an August incident where Moon attacked Desiree Berg at an LA “medical freedom” rally—i.e. anti-vaxx rally—Desiree Berg covered.
During the incident, Moon grabbed Desiree-Berg and attempted to pull her protective mask down. In a separate incident, a person was stabbed at the rally.
“Back up, back up!” Desiree Berg shouted at Moon at the Saturday “Love Fest” rally as he continued verbally harassing her and invading her personal space.
None of Moon’s actions surprised Desiree Berg.
“In their insular universe these folks view themselves as purveyors of good against evil,” Desiree Berg told Status Coup in response to the verbal harassment she experienced on Saturday from Moon along with other rallygoers.
“They are very motivated by wild conspiracy theories and have been radicalized in Telegram chat rooms and on other social media echo chambers. Anyone that criticizes their beliefs is automatically viewed as an enemy and liar. They are also happy to be in the limelight as they find the attention edifying. Harassing journalists is seen as a patriotic duty. It is frustrating because it is impossible to report on what’s happening when their childish antics become the main thrust of what’s happening. then they get angry because they think you made them look bad- when in reality they did that all on their own.”
Desiree Berg isn’t the only journalist Proud Boys has distorted into Antifa members and sympathizers; scores of independent journalists who, at personal risk to their own safety, have covered Proud Boys often violent events have been chastised—and threatened—by the group’s members and allies if their coverage wasn’t sufficiently favorable or loyal to the Proud Boys worldview.
The truth is, actual journalists who report in dangerous situations—where people’s animosity often points directly at them—are also human beings. The hostile treatment, and physical confrontation toward them, by groups like the Proud Boys certainly causes journalists to have to re-examine and weigh the pros and cons of continuing to cover groups like the Proud Boys.
Nonetheless, Desiree Berg isn’t going anywhere.
“I will definitely continue to cover these events and what surrounds them,” she told Status Coup. “I don’t think what they represent is disappearing any time soon- and I think the potential for an increase in violence and hateful ideas exists. I think it needs to have a light focused on it. There are very real consequences for not checking them.”
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