An MSNBC reporter apologized after coming under fire for using – and refusing to move from – a handicapped parking spot outside of a polling place.
A disabled Air Force veteran trying to vote called out the “Different kind of voter suppression” by MSNBC’s Mariana Atencio and her crew after they reportedly blocked the parking space at a Houston polling location.
“Went to vote, and found this waiting for us,” James Berrie wrote in a Facebook post. “The only van accessible spot and they’re filming in it. We asked them to move, pointed out how it was wrong, then went to vote, because it takes time to load up. But came out and still there. Not even packing up, still getting ready for their shot.”
Atencio and the MSNBC crew were apparently blocking the space as well as the loading area at the Texas location.
“This is suppression. If I couldn’t park I couldn’t vote. Their van had no handicap placards,” Berrie, who has multiple sclerosis, added. “This happens all the time. Handicap spots are not loading zones for gear and equipment. Figure something else out. Especially at a public event where people are going to need the spots. This is not ok, and the station needs to be made aware. All of them.”
Berrie later told KHOU11 that the crew “made no effort whatsoever to move.”
“Their job is more important than accessibility,” he said. “There were so many other places to do [their live shot]. But you chose to do it here. We’re like, ‘No. We gotta stand up.'”
Former MSNBC host Greta Van Susteren joined countless others in condemning the MSNBC crew and Atencio.
— Greta Van Susteren (@greta) November 3, 2018
Atencio eventually issued an apology for the “wrong call” she and her crew had made.
We made the wrong call today by using a disabled parking spot for our live shot in TX. There’s no excuse. I apologize to the two people who were on their way to vote as it’s one of the most important parts of our democracy; we’d never want to jeopardize anyone’s ability to do so
— Mariana Atencio (@marianaatencio) October 30, 2018
After Berrie’s post went viral, with now nearly 2,000 likes on Facebook, he posted an update.
“Thank you all for your support. This has gotten bigger than I thought, but that is a good thing. People are talking about this, having the conversation. Please keep going. If you see something, say something,” he wrote.
He also added another post at the end of the week, calling to meet up with Atencio or MSNBC to talk to them, though he told the Washington Examiner he has not yet heard from anyone.