The chief national correspondent for ABC News is receiving blistering criticism for his decision to report “looters” to police investigating a dead body in Houston.
Tom Llamas, the weekend anchor for ABC’s World News Tonight, tweeted, “We’re witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston and police have just discovered a body nearby.”
“We informed police of the looting and Coast Guard is flying overhead. Multiple officers now on the scene.”
Llamas deleted the tweet acknowledging he reported “looters” at a Fiesta supermarket to police (screenshot of deleted tweet).
It has been four days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm.
“Llamas, who has previously won awards for his coverage of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, is clearly no stranger to the devastation they can cause or the frenzy they can set off in those who are just struggling to survive within them,” the AV Club noted. “In light of Llamas’ clarification, some have also recommended Tom Llamas wade right into that supermarket, find the largest extant pineapple, and go f*ck himself with it—but only after paying for it. Anyway, be sure to follow Tom Llamas for more hard-hitting investigative stories about people fighting for their lives and where the police can arrest them.”
A similar tone criticizing Llamas’ personal values and journalistic integrity spread quickly across the internet.
"some poor people were taking food in order to survive and I wasn't about to fucking have that" pic.twitter.com/d6OTIIDTnW
— Klébergarbageson (@circus_cannon) August 29, 2017
He also deleted the original tweet.
A snitch and a coward.
— Michael Tannenbaum (@iamTannenbaum) August 29, 2017
This is revolting. Adhere to the SPJ tragedy coverage code.
"Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage."
— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) August 29, 2017
Hi Tom, the city has asked us to only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies. I'm sure you were very scared but this wasn't one.
— Robert Anderson (@thatdarnedbob) August 29, 2017
It's a supermarket. People are suffering. This isn't journalism. https://t.co/IDOKoKkSQw
— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) August 29, 2017
Let them eat Tom
— aaaaaaaa (@mrreptoid) August 29, 2017
Look at all these criminals JAYWALKING! Quick dude, call the cops pic.twitter.com/uXpF6q8rlX
— Happened in Florida (@idavidro) August 29, 2017
Do you feel like a hero, snitch?
— Nicole Russell (@nicolerussell91) August 29, 2017
You had precious resources diverted. You blew the journalism code of ethics. I'd find a new career. Court of public option: guilty #noethics
— Leah Richmond Cooper (@dendria) August 29, 2017
Wow. This is reckless endangerment. People taking food from supermarkets in a multi-day disaster are not looters, they are survivors. https://t.co/37L0OTaP8m
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) August 29, 2017
— Grateful_Canuck (@Grateful_Canuck) August 29, 2017
Stopping rescues to sustain starvation. Quality work.
— Aaron Almeroth (@Aftermath8) August 29, 2017
Maybe sit the next couple plays out, champ.
— coreyspring (@coreyspring) August 29, 2017
Damn, he must've deleted it. I wanted to read the roasts.
— James Andrews (@james_andrews22) August 29, 2017
And now you know why they covered their faces, so some jackass wouldn't report them for getting food supplies
— NRidingsⓋ (@njridings) August 29, 2017
— El Will (@WillHousell) August 29, 2017
Local news: look at these people saving dogs in their row boat!
abc national news: antifa is stealing bread AND OH MY GOD THERES A BODY
— Brett Banditelli (@banditelli) August 29, 2017
Can't wait for Tom Alpaca's co-workers to try and tell us he's a good guy who does volunteer work for poors or what the fuck ever
— K (@kevinmccauley) August 29, 2017
thank goodness, now that food can stay where it belongs – in a flooded supermarket where its gonna have to be thrown out soon anyway
— DJ JDPON🐬 (@aflightybroad) August 29, 2017
I honestly can't remember one I've seen this bad.
— James Andrews (@james_andrews22) August 29, 2017
hi tom. i wanted to report massive loitering happening around the houston area. please inform the proper authorities.
— Robert Emanuel (@robertemanuelmd) August 29, 2017
It was already pretty clear, the pride with which you snitched on people in a disaster…
— Kian Goh (@kiangoh) August 29, 2017
It's called survival Tom, I know, I lived in Houston for 20 years, thru Katrina, Rita and Ike. 2 l/2 weeks w/o elec, no food Where is FEMA?
— LeeAnn Hamilton (@nanbgood) August 29, 2017
Consider the mindset that led you to think protecting food that's going to spoil is more important than people not dying of hunger.
— Riley Robinson (@DigitalScofflaw) August 29, 2017
probably looking at your phone right now like "hmm idk what people could be upset about" pic.twitter.com/DCpcX85ksK
— Adam Holwerda (@adamholwerda) August 29, 2017
Seems you accidentally deleted the tweets when you meant to delete your account. Better luck next time, scum.
— Sheetcake & Covfefe (@erased_god) August 29, 2017
This is 100% the shit eating smirk of someone who values property and the appearance of normality over real lives in an emergency. pic.twitter.com/eGtoJeAMWu
— Nic Rowen (@Wrenchfarm) August 29, 2017
— #MedicaidMatt (@mattbc) August 29, 2017