ESPN’s Britt McHenry emotionlessly rips into tow yard clerk in video – suspended for one week; fired from my TV

by Kent Sterling

The best of us make people smile when the worst happens.  Through the release of a video at a tow yard, we learned ESPN's Britt McHenry is not among the best of us.

The best of us make people smile when the worst happens. Through the release of a video at a tow yard, we learned ESPN’s Britt McHenry is not among the best of us.

Don’t start with this “We all have our moments” crap in defending ESPN’s Britt McHenry.  Some of us have vented frustrations in stressful times, but what Britt McHenry is shown doing in a video to a tow yard clerk is unforgivably mean because it was executed with such heartless indifference.

Everyone is nice when it’s convenient or prudent.  Our character is defined by who we are when things don’t go our way.  We don’t see McHenry at her worst on the video – we see her unvarnished, unprettified, and unpleasant.

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None of us is perfect, and I have had moments of anger when presented with indifferent customer service, but to insult the weight, teeth, and intellect of a woman who is likely a minimum wage clerk showed a viciousness I cannot see past.

McHenry’s apology on Twitter reads, “In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things. As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake.”

Watch this video and tell me if McHenry looks intense or stressed:

McHenry appears quite comfortable asserting her education, fitness, and beauty as points of superiority to the unshown lady in the booth.  This seems like business as usual for McHenry, not a moment where she lost her mind.

Even more distressing is McHenry’s use of the word “mistake” to describe her relentlessly cruel efforts to demean the clerk.  Accidentally cutting in line is a mistake.  Leaving a store with a piece of candy you forgot to pay for is a mistake.  Oversleeping is a mistake.  Using a string of petty insults to try to hurt the feelings of a tow yard clerk is not a mistake; it reveals McHenry’s character.

She says she should “take the high road” regardless of her frustration level.  I’m not sure McHenry will be able to find it.  The high road is where people pay compliments to one another to lift spirits, not attack the physical and intellectual weaknesses of those who might be viewed as lacking those qualities.

The lesson McHenry will learn from this ridiculous episode will be to behave like she is always being videotaped.  The real lesson is one McHenry should have learned long ago – being nice is the least we owe one another.

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Our energy should be spent trying to make others feel good about themselves, not posture and preen as we assert our majesty over those we mistakenly view as less gifted.

Bullying doesn’t stop in grade school.  It continues if we allow it.  What McHenry is shown doing in the video is a miserable and perfect example of verbally bullying someone who earns a living – or partial living – taking money from people after their cars are towed.  This lady has seen a lot of people at their worst.  Whatever she is paid, it isn’t enough.

Television anchors and reporters – especially at the ESPN level – are paid for their ability to look good and read well, but the key to their success is to be a welcome presence in the living rooms of viewers.  They need to be likable.  McHenry showed herself in the video as repellent – someone I wouldn’t invite into my home if she rang my doorbell.

She was suspended for a week by management at ESPN.  Maybe she deserves a chance to atone for her heartless and cruel attack, but my choice will be to turn to another sports network when she shows up in my living room because I don’t want ugliness – even when wrapped in a pretty package – in my home.

13 thoughts on “ESPN’s Britt McHenry emotionlessly rips into tow yard clerk in video – suspended for one week; fired from my TV

  1. Joe

    Great post and hadn’t thought about the “bullying” nature of her actions but that is what that is….pure unadulterated bullying of a person she thinks is inferior to her in so many ways. And she relishes doing it in a cold calculating way. The more I think about her, the more frightening she becomes.

  2. Dave / NM

    The entitled talking heads are way, way, way above us mere mortals when it comes to intellect and beauty and, they know it.


  3. Kevin C

    In her apology, she also used a phrase that I’ve always hated: “take the high road.” This phrase insinuates that the other person involved in an argument is just as much to blame, but that you’re choosing not to stoop to their level. Like a back-handed compliment, this is a back-handed apology at best. To all the people saying we should cut her a break, she doesn’t work at the dollar store, or at a typical office job. She’s a public figure who gets paid to be likable, watchable, and charismatic. This is an image job, and she screwed her own image. If she was a politician, her constituents would likely vote her out of a job next time around. ESPN has the right to suspend her or even fire her because she’s cast such a poor light on them. You can view the situation as a whole, or break it down into its parts. The “do you know who I am” card is embarrassing. The threat of a lawsuit in conjunction with the “I work in news” statement really drags her employer into the situation unfairly, and the fat shaming BY a woman TOWARD a woman is a major P.R. nightmare for a major network who employs so many women and works so hard to boost the self esteem of young women.

  4. Wink96

    She should be fired right away her comments were about as low u could go, my dad work his butt off for 34 yrs as a garbage man to make sure me and my two sisters had a better life. She pretty much spit in the face of anybody that gets their hands dirty for a living.

    1. Dave / NM

      Are you as ignorant as you appear to be or are you merely exercising your constitutional right to act stupid?

      1. kentsterling Post author

        Those weren’t from Jeff. Somebody is being an ass in associating his name with jacked up content.

    2. Matterhorn

      No she didn’t she was mad cause she got towed you ever dealt with those people in downtown Indy. They are complete a–holes.

      1. kentsterling Post author

        I have been towed all over the world. Never told any of the attendants to “Lose some weight baby girl!”

  5. Warren in TN.

    I can understand her anger over being towed and having to go pickup her car (as I understand it, that’s the genesis of this story) but then Britt goes off the deep end, and to make things worse, she makes an absolute FAIL of an apology.

    Just goes to show you that beauty really is only skin deep, because that was one ugly rant.

    I’m glad I’ve not watched ESPN for many years now, the only time I ever watch any ESPN programming is usually a live sporting event that I can only see on that network. The talking heads, sports opinion shows, etc, does not interest me one bit. There are plenty of other, better, sources to get sports news.

    I’m glad to know I’m on the right track (and have been) for a very long time where that network is concerned.

  6. Alex Jennings

    It’s unfortunate that Brit McHenry, an ESPN anchor, insulted the towing clerk. It’s too bad that some people, when they obtain fame and fortune, use their qualities to belittle others. Maybe she should have been suspended for more than one week?

    Alex Jennings |


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