In less than one minute, a Connecticut school district spokesman managed to demonstrate exactly what not to do as a spokesman.
Chris Hoffman, the official flack for the New Haven School District – which means he gets paid to answer reporters’ questions on camera – grabbed a reporter’s camera as she tried to interview him on video.
Melissa Bailey, New Haven Independent Managing Editor, was on the campus of the Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy for a pre-arranged interview with teachers and students when Hoffman popped up unannounced and insisted on overseeing the interview.
Bailey wanted to interview the students and teachers without a looming flack hanging over them.
When she pulled out her camera to ask Hoffman why he insisted on overseeing the interviews, he grabbed her camera.
“Turn the camera off,” he ordered her.
The school was originally a public school but has since been privatized. Bailey has been reporting on the transition since the takeover. Or at least attempting to report on it.
She has had issues in the past with Hoffman, as you can see in the video below.
In both videos, Bailey maintains her professionalism as well as her journalism sarcasm, which makes Hoffman look even more stupid.
Hoffman later apologized, according to an update in Bailey’s story.
What a prick.
UPDATE II: Hoffman has resigned, according to the Hartford Courant.
Two days after he was recorded yelling at and grabbing a reporter’s camera at the Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy, New Haven Public Schools spokesman Christopher Hoffman announced his resignation on Friday.
“It was Chris’ decision,” said city spokeswoman Elizabeth Benton, adding that she would not speculate on whether the publishing of the video on the New Haven Independent’s website had any effect on his departure.
Will Clark, chief operating officer for the New Haven Public Schools, refused to comment on Hoffman’s resignation Friday afternoon, as did several Board of Education members.
Benton said Hoffman, who has been working with the district since February, submitted his letter of resignation Friday afternoon. It takes effect next month.
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