ABC4 News journalist Jason Nguyen made a controversial reportage in which he filmed his arrival at the home of a Salt Lake City, Utah paramedic who allegedly donated $10 to aid Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense.
After showing up in the apartment of a paramedic, ABC’s local affiliate even called the man’s employer to reveal the details of the donation.
The paramedic, whose name is Craig Shephard, works at West Valley City Fire Department and is one of the people whose personal information became publicly known after a data breach of GiveSendGo.
GiveSendGo is a Christian crowdfunding website that collected funds to help the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, the man accused of killing two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August.
Many commentators, especially those from the right, strongly criticized Nguyen’s unusual way of reporting.
They compared the reporter’s action to a physical assault in which the target had to be demonized even though he is just an ordinary citizen from Utah.
Nguyen tried to justify himself by pointing that Shephard used his government email to donate the money, adding that coming to someone’s home is how he usually reports about the stories.
ABC4 reporter pointed out that he did something similar with both criminals and those from another side of the law, with the principal goal of striking a balance in his reporting.
After receiving a backlash from Twitter users, Nguyen deleted posts in which he tried to explain his behavior.
The Virginian-Pilot case
Something similar happened to Norfolk Police Department’s Lt. William K. Kelly III several days ago.
The Virginian-Pilot, a local newspaper from Virginia, publicly revealed that Kelly donated $25 to Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense, using the same data breach from the GiveSendGo platform.
The newspaper disclosed that, alongside his donation, Kelly posted a comment expressing his belief that Rittenhouse is not guilty, thanking the Kenosha suspect for his courage and sending him best wishes.
Kelly’s case, however, had a more radical consequence.
The police officer who worked for around two decades was fired after the disclosure of his donation.
While Police Chief Larry Boone refused to comment on Kelly’s firing, veteran officer Clay Messick, a local police union leader, described the decision as disappointing and the investigation that preceded it as hasty.
So far, Shephard has escaped Kelly’s outcome.
The level of publicity of his case may pressure his employers to leave him without a job.
It may, however, also lead in an opposite direction.