Petra Laszlo, the videographer caught on camera sticking out her leg to trip a migrant as he ran from police while clutching a child to his chest, says she is sorry — and that she's not "heartless." Laszlo says she panicked when she saw people running toward her in a field close to Hungary's border with Serbia.
The camerawoman was fired by Hungary's N1TV network Wednesday, as the network's editor in chief said Laszlo had "behaved unacceptably" in the collection area, where police repeatedly tried to round up refugees and other migrants — and where Laszlo and many other videographers had fanned out across a field to document the events.
Laszlo became the target of thousands of negative online comments Wednesday after a Facebook "wall of shame" was created to vent public anger over her actions. While the key footage showed her tripping a man, other images showed Laszlo seeming to kick at a young woman as she tried to run across a field.
From Budapest, Lauren Frayer reports for our Newscast unit:
"In her apology letter, Petra Laszlo says 'something snapped' in her, because she was scared of migrants running from police. 'I'm not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman,' she says.
"She's a mother herself — now unemployed and under police investigation. She's become a symbol of xenophobia in Hungary."
As Lauren reported Wednesday, N1TV is "associated with Hungary's far-right anti-immigrant party," the Jobbik party.
In addition to Laszlo's other troubles, the police are looking into her actions this week to see if they warrant criminal charges.