An Alaska State Senator Allegedly Slapped A Reporter For Doing Their Job
Contrary to popular belief, journalism isn’t always the easiest field to navigate. Your job is to talk to people for the people, and for myriad reasons, sometimes certain people don’t want to do much talking. Take Alaska state Sen. David Wilson (pictured above), who, based on reports from the Associated Press, didn’t want to do much talking. Instead, he opted to use his hands.
Reporter Nathaniel Herz of the Alaska Dispatch News was reportedly the recipient of a slap from Wilson. Prior to the physical encounter, Herz had written an article about a bill that Wilson, a Wasilla, Alaska Republican, proposed. The bill would strip funding from certain nonprofits in the senator’s area, however, his former employer wouldn’t be impacted by the proposed bill.
In an impromptu follow-up attempt, when Herz spotted Wilson at the Capitol on Tuesday (May 3), he asked if the senator thought the article was reasonable and fair. In an audio recording that the reporter provided the paper, Wilson responded by sarcastically repeating the phrase “reasonable and fair” before exhaling then slapping Herz and saying, “There we go.” Herz reportedly asked aloud if the slap was meant to be playful or serious. “He uh, slapped me. That was interesting,” he’d said.
Herz told the paper’s Editor David Hulen, and later filed a police report over the incident. “We support our reporter. It’s not OK for a legislator to strike anyone,” Hulen said in a statement. The Senate majority caucus, led by Republicans, responded by saying they expect “professional conduct and decorum from all members. Until all the facts surrounding the situation described are available, we have no further comment.”
A spokeswoman for the Juneau police department told ABC News that they are investigating.