Camerawoman plans to sue refugee she infamously tripped, and Facebook

The Hungarian TV journalist who was filmed tripping and kicking Syrian refugees says she plans to sue one of said refugees as "a matter of honour."

Hungarian journalist caught tripping refugees on camera plans to sue Facebook as "a matter of honour"

Video journalist Petra Laszlo told a newspaper last year: 'I am practically in shock from what I did, and what was done to me.' (Left: László Petra Szégyenfal/Facebook , Right: AFP/Getty Images)

A Hungarian TV journalist who was caught tripping and kicking refugees on camera last month is making headlines once again this week — and inciting perhaps even more rage now than she did when the infamous footage first surfaced.

This is because, according to Russian newspaper Izvestia, the former N1TV camerawoman has announced that she plans to sue one of the very Syrian refugees she was seen kicking as "a matter of honour."

She also intends to sue Facebook for allegedly failing to take down negative and threatening content directed towards her in relation to the video, according to NPR

"Facebook played a major role in my situation," said Petra Laszlo, 40, to Izvestia on Tuesday according to an English translation of the interview. 

Citing an almost 10,000-member strong group on the social network called  "Petra Laszlo Shame Wall," she allegedly claimed that Facebook "helped embitter people against me."


Laszlo, who was fired by her employer in Hungary for behaving "unacceptably" shortly after the video she appeared in went viral, said that she plans to sue one of the refugees who appeared in it for "swapping stories" in his testimony.

"He changed his testimony because he initially blamed the police," Laszlo said of 52-year-old Syrian refugee Osama Abdul Mohsen, who was seen falling on top of his child in the video after being tripped. "My husband wants to prove my innocence."

Interestingly, given her statements this week, Laszlo apologized for her behaviour near the Serbian border on Sept. 8, just a few days after the tripping video had been filmed. 

Writing in the Magyar Nemzet newspaper that she was "sincerely sorry for what happened," Laszlo claimed that she acted out of fear and panic.

"I was scared as they streamed toward me, and then something snapped inside me," she wrote. "With the camera in my hands, I didn't see who was coming toward me. I just thought they were on the attack and I had to defend myself."

"I am not a heartless, child-kicking, racist camera operator," she continued. "I do not deserve the political witch hunt that has been launched against me, nor do I deserve the abusive threats that often call for my death. I am just a woman, who has recently become an unemployed mother."

Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo cites Facebook pages like this, which is one of several dedicated to denouncing her, as part of the reason she plans to sue the social network. (Facebook/CBC News screenshot)

In her interview with Izvestia this week, the former camerawoman indicated that she now feels threatened in Hungary and that she may relocate with her family to Russia.

Currently, however, she is under criminal investigation by Hungarian prosecutors.

For her role in the kicking incident, she could face charges of "violence against a member of the community" — a crime punishable by up to five years in prison according to The Guardian.

Laszlo told Izvestia that she plans to file her dual lawsuits once her criminal trial is over.

"I can definitely say my life is ruined," she told the newspaper. "It's unlikely that I will be able to find a job and do what I like the most."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.