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April 6, 2017 On the first day of the 2016 AAP Conference in San Francisco, some members of our group held a counter-protest. During the morning James Loewen approached us and started taking photos. Although he didn’t introduce himself or ask permission, we were happy to pose with our signs. After taking several pictures he went to one side, and appeared to work with his photographic equipment.

Having viewed several of his videos, we were prepared for what was to happen next. We knew that James Loewen would try to interview us on camera, asking loaded questions in order to make us look ignorant or evil. We knew that he would have total control to edit the recording to make us appear ignorant or sadistic. So we came prepared with a plan to thwart his efforts.

Loewen pointed his video camera toward us, and asked a question. He did not:

AAP Counter-protest 2016

  • introduce himself.

  • identify himself as a journalist or documentarian.

  • ask permission to interview us.

  • ask permission to film us.

  • notify us that we were being filmed.

  • tell us the purpose of the interview.

  • tell us what he planned to do with the film.

Loewen’s behavior conflicts with that of standard journalism ethics, which require that an interviewer ask permission to conduct an interview and notify subjects that they are being filmed. [1]

When asked if he was filming us, he replied that he has a right to film us in a public place. Andrew Gross, a member of our team, responded, “I didn’t give you permission to film me. Please stop.” Loewen repeated that we are in a public place, and he has a right to film us in a public place.

At this point Gross pulled out a manila envelope and took out a set of placards in sheet protectors that were prepared for this situation. As each team member took a placard, Loewen asked, “Oh, is this one of your handouts?” Ignoring the question, our team turned toward the camera and held up the placards.

Over the next few minutes Loewen continued to try to get us to answer his questions, as Gross repeated, “I didn’t give you permission to film me. Please stop.” Gross spoke directly into the camera, asking viewers to contact James Loewen and tell him to stop filming people without their permission. He recited Loewen’s name, address, phone number, and email address, which were printed on the placards.

Our team members never:​​

  • referred to the placard as a handout.

  • said or suggested that the placards were being distributed to the public.

  • showed the placards to anyone else.

  • said or suggested that the placards had been shown to anyone.

  • threatened to show or distribute the placards to anyone if he failed to cooperate.

At one point Loewen advanced toward a short female member of the team. As he approached she held her placard up to the camera. He grabbed hold of the placard and tried to yank it from her hand. The rest of us rushed over and yelled at him to let go. Loewen continued to try to yank the placard from her hand, claiming, “Oh, I thought you were handing it to me.” After several attempts to seize the placard, he finally let go.

When Loewen finally left, all of the placards were collected and placed inside an envelope. They were never shown to anyone except James Loewen himself.

Tomorrow: Loewen promises to give his followers a “happy ending”

[1] Christopher B. Daly and Leighton Walter Kille; "Interviewing a Source: Tips"; Journalist's Resource; Last updated June 1, 2016. “First off, regardless of the situation, state that you are a journalist. It is unethical to fool or mislead people. You should also indicate that you are planning to publish or broadcast material from the interview, even if you are freelance and don’t yet know where or how it will be published… Ask permission to record the interview.”

Smile for the Irate Man behind the camera

April 7, 2017 - Part 6: Lies, Lies, Lies ... Yeah! April 8, 2017 - Part 7: Conclusion September 23, 2017: The Irate Man accuses Circumcision Choice of dishonest tactics September 24, 2017: Update: The Irate Man's continuing dishonesty


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