A video went viral of a journalist in Santa Monica, California, holding a power tool near a building destroyed by looters and posing for an Instagram photo before quickly jumping back in a car to drive away. Online commenters were angry that the woman appeared to be pretending to help for the sake of a photo op.
The woman’s identity was confirmed by New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz as Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin, an intern with the Washington Examiner.
In the video, after posing with the construction worker, she hands him back his power tool and says, “Thank you so much” before walking away. A bystander can be heard saying afterward, referring to the young man standing on the sidewalk taking her photo, “Boyfriends of Instagram!”
As Moriarty-McLaughlin and her boyfriend hop into a black Mercedes-Benz to quickly leave, as they were parked in a red zone, the bystander yells, “Good job, you guys! BLM!”
Many buildings in Santa Monica were damaged by looters amid protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
this is what some of y’alls activism looks like pic.twitter.com/z14HmcGFOa
— JOHNNY SIBILLY (@JohnnySibilly) June 2, 2020
Because of her sunglasses and handkerchief being worn as a mask, the video of Moriarty-McLaughlin’s fake photo op initially went viral without her identity being known. The video was first shared on Instagram by a popular account called @the_real_los_angeles. However, once the video was shared on Twitter, online detectives quickly figured out her identity. The video has since been viewed over 24 million times.
Director Ava DuVernay tweeted out the video, saying, “You know what? I’m… I think I’m gonna put Twitter away for a few minutes before I throw this phone across the room.”
Pink tweeted, “What is wrong with these entitled a**holes?! Who the f*** are you and who are your parents you horrible person. How can anyone defend this???!!!”
On Tuesday evening, New York Magazine reporter Yashar Ali tweeted that Moriarty-McLaughlin has since been fired from the Washington Examiner.
Moriarty-McLaughlin Is a Political Intern With The Washington Examiner & Former Journalist for Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter
After the video went viral, Moriarty-McLaughlin turned all of her social media accounts private. However, as a journalist, all her previous articles and video interviews remained live. Her Twitter bio line, which remains visible, reads: “I’m just chasing the facts.”
The Washington Examiner, for which Moriarty-McLaughlin is a commentary intern, is a conservative news website owned by MediaDC, a subsidiary of Clarity Media Group.
Moriarty-McLaughlin Reports for Campus Reform, a Site Dedicated to Reporting Liberal Bias & Abuse Against Conservatives
While reporting for Campus Reform, Moriarty-Mclaughlin joined the conservative Joe Pags Show to discuss a new ‘Social Credit Score.’ Pags started out the interview with a list of compliments for the young journalist. He said, “You young reporters put the legacy media to shame each and every day. … I go to your website every day, Campusreform.org, from sea to shining sea, every day, the articles are amazing and factual and you can back them up with factual information.
“I saw someone pretending to be an anchor or a reporter says ‘apparently,’ this that and the other,’ well, ‘apparently’ isn’t a word used in journalism,” Pags continued. “It’s sort of your opinion of what you think you saw. And that’s not what you guys do. You lay it out in fact and I appreciate you for that.”
“Thank you,” Moriarty-McLaughlin said. “Yeah, we’re always chasing the facts. Out here on the west coast, the UC system rampant with all the news that’s happening and we’re just excited to be here.”
Campus Reform shares the following statement on their website: “College campuses are no longer bastions of higher learning. Leftist professors indoctrinate students with their agendas. They even silence conservative students with their attempts to suppress free speech.”
On the topic of living in a liberal-leaning area, Moriarty-McLaughlin said, “People don’t have the facts. People call Trump a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and they have no facts to back that up ever. It’s a group type of ideology.”
The Day Before Moriarty-McLaughlin’s Photo-Op, Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade Was Looted & Vandalized
Absolute Chaos along 4th street in Santa Monica… looting with impunity on both sides of the street. No police in sight. We’ve watched this happen to dozens of stores for 45 minutes now… pic.twitter.com/WOdEhIz3th
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) May 31, 2020
Adding further frustration to watching a young white woman pretend to help out the community for social media clout, the reality is that the Santa Monica community was ravaged by looters. On Sunday, one day before Moriarty-McLaughlin posed for her photo op, peaceful rallies turned violent.
Looters ran into stores and grabbed as much merchandise as they could hold in their hands before jumping into getaway cars. Earlier in the day Sunday, the Santa Monica Police tweeted, “Today, you may see some businesses, including the mall, fortify their storefronts to avoid possible damage. We ask that our community remain calm and safe, and that your freedom of expression remain peaceful.”
However, based on the videos shared on Twitter, the preventative measures taken weren’t enough on May 31.
— SwipeMarket (@SwipeMarket) May 31, 2020
— Greg Berry (@gregmberry) May 31, 2020
The looting started less than an hour after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gave a speech on protecting the city’s citizens and announced a countywide curfew from 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for the second night in a row. Similar to the looting that took place in Fairfax Village the day before in Los Angeles, people started looting stores in Santa Monica in broad daylight.
Moriarty-McLaughlin’s Most Recent Article Was Titled, ‘Six Things To Do With That Avocado in Your Dorm Room’
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In addition to the Washington Examiner, Moriarty-McLaughlin writes for Spoon University. According to her Muck Rack profile, her most recent article, “Six Things To Do With That Avocado In Your Dorm Room,” she writes:
As a California native, I consider myself an avocado connoisseur. From Haas to Reed to Hall, I live and breathe avocados. When I first stepped out of the Golden State, I realized that I no longer had my California-grown avocados, but a variation of avocados imported from Mexico.