ABC reporter films angry tirade at coffee shop: 'You're harassing me!'

·3-min read

A regional ABC reporter has shared video of a heated exchange she was caught up in with a woman who unleashed a tirade against her employer. 

North Queensland-based rural and environmental issues reporter Melanie Groves shared the footage of the encounter she had with a woman at a cafe to Twitter on Thursday afternoon as she tried to order lunch.

In the video, the woman stands at the counter as the coffee shop employee is heard telling the woman she does not need to harass Ms Groves just because she works at the ABC.

"I'm not harassing her!" the woman exclaims, to which the employee tells the woman she is.

A woman began harassing an ABC reporter who was just trying to get some lunch. Source: Twitter/@MelanieLGroves
A woman began harassing an ABC reporter who was just trying to get some lunch. Source: Twitter/@MelanieLGroves

"You're harassing me now," the woman then says to the employee.

The woman behind the counter explains Ms Groves is her customer, while the woman interjects and says she is also a customer.

"I was just saying, the ABC spreads lies and she is part of a company that is peddling lies," the woman says.

The woman behind the counter defends Ms Groves while trying to defuse the situation, saying she is an employee who doesn't have a say on what is being reported on.

"But do you understand what I'm saying," the woman says, turning to face Ms Groves.

"Do you see where I'm coming from?"

Ms Groves politely tells the woman she appreciates that she has her opinion and says she is just trying to get some lunch.

The cafe employee again sticks up for Ms Groves, as the woman leans in closer to the reporter.

The employee behind the counter and another staff member then ask the woman to leave. The woman pulls a disapproving face before saying "whatever".

The woman was asked to leave the cafe after confronting the ABC journalist. Source: Twitter/@MelanieLGroves
The woman was asked to leave the cafe after confronting the ABC journalist. Source: Twitter/@MelanieLGroves

"I'd love to not actually give you my money," the woman says to the staff.

"ABC sucks, all the media sucks."

The woman then walks off.

Ms Groves claimed on Twitter the woman had earlier expressed anti-vax views.

"This encounter was after about a minute of this lady telling me (also all filmed but no point recycling lies) that the vaccine is going to kill everyone in a few years and that the ABC (and other media) should be done for crimes against humanity and domestic terrorism," Ms Groves explained on Twitter.

"I just wanted some lunch."

Fortunately, Ms Groves did get her food — a toasted sanga and coffee — and left soon after, though she said she could still hear the woman continuing her tirade a few shops away when security asked her to leave.

"Big thanks to the staff for defending me and calling security," Ms Groves said on Twitter.

Many people on Twitter showed their support to Ms Groves, some saying the woman's behaviour was "gross" and "intimidating".

"This level of American Trump-esque harassment is becoming a real concern," one person said on Twitter. 

"It has to stop. We do NOT want to go down that route. Harassment, feedback and criticism and bullying are very different. Time we all became more educated about that, and called it out!"

People remarked how Ms Groves handled the harassment very well and said they were relieved staff at the cafe were there to back her up.

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