TV news reporter Grant Hermes was standing outside TD Garden Saturday night, appearing to prepare for a live shot, when a yelling passerby grabbed him from behind.
In a clip of the incident that he shared on social media over the weekend, Hermes, a reporter with 7News Boston, condemned the behavior, writing, “I wanna be clear how not OK this is.”
In the 12-second video, a woman in the background can first be seen waving her arms and cheering. Then a man donning a baseball cap runs into the shot, flexing his arms behind Hermes. Looking directly into the camera, he exclaims, “Yeah, boy!” and gives him a bear hug, pushing him down.
Hermes, who seemed to have been aware of the man before he grabbed him, flashed a startled expression. He quickly pushed the man off and chased him out of view, saying firmly, “Don’t do that, dude,” as onlookers wearing Bruins attire walked by.
“At the time, I was thinking, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’ and also, ‘Have they tossed to me in the field yet?’” Hermes said Tuesday in a message. “I’m a little embarrassed that I popped up and took a few steps at the guy but I honestly didn’t know what he was going to do next. Thankfully he just ran off.”
I’m glad this guy wasn’t someone with a gun or a knife or who wanted to hurt me or my photographer. But the point is there are those people out there. We’ve seen it happen. 2/— Grant Hermes (@GrantHermes) November 19, 2023
Hermes said that although he and his photographer were “fine,” the experience had been unsettling.
“The people you see on TV are at work, at a job where people make threats at us regularly,” he wrote. “When you yell at us, run into our live shots, or grab us, we don’t know what you’re there to do.”
Hermes, who joined WHDH last spring, said he was grateful that the man “wasn’t someone with a gun or a knife or who wanted to hurt me or my photographer,” but the possibility of confronting such an individual is a looming concern.
“The point is there are those people out there. We’ve seen it happen,” he said. “So the next time you think about getting your 3 seconds of fame at a reporter’s expense. Don’t.”
On Tuesday, Hermes said his advice to fellow reporters “is the same that we’ve heard for years now — keep an eye out for yourself and your colleagues in the field.”
“Our job can come with inherent dangers because we need to be where the news happens, and it’s a privilege to be in those places. But a routine live shot isn’t what we should mean when we talk about danger,” he said.
Hermes received a rush of support on social media, including from fellow journalists, with several writing that the man’s behavior was “not OK at all.” Some commenters recalled when well-known meteorologist Jim Cantore kicked a person who interrupted him during a shot.
“I’m baffled others are brushing this off or excusing it,” one person posted on X. “I’d like them to know, to avoid embarrassment or criminal charges, this is NOT OK. This is assault & battery.”
Others praised his professionalism and said they were glad that he wasn’t harmed.
“Tough job in so many ways. Always was a fear of mine as a producer sending a crew anywhere. I’m glad you’re okay bud,” another person wrote.
Hermes said the “feedback has been more positive than not.” But he has been surprised by some commenting that “it wasn’t so bad or the guy was harmless.”
“I want to ask those people when the last time a stranger ran into their job and grabbed them from behind? Unless they’re an NFL player or a theme park mascot, their answer is probably never,” he said.