ABC News reporter faces backlash for tweeting about ‘looting’ at Houston supermarket


ABC News reporter Tom Llamas is facing backlash for tweeting about “looting” at a Houston supermarket.

Llamas, who has been reporting on the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, tweeted Tuesday, “We’re witnessing looting right now at a large supermarket in the NE part of Houston & police have just discovered a body nearby.”

In a follow-up tweet (since deleted) he wrote, “We informed police of the looting and Coast Guard is flying overhead. Multiple officers now on the scene.”  

Many criticized him for not being more empathetic towards those who may be struggling to survive.

“In what conceivable sense is it a journalist’s role to narc to police on people in a disaster taking food? And so gross to call it ‘looting,’” said one commenter.

Another remarked, “Your privilege is showing, sir. Where is your empathy? Did you stop anyone to ask y? It’s one thing if they were taking stuff from Best Buy.”

Someone else suggested, “maybe don’t call it looting when humans help themselves to provisions in an emergency situation. what are they supposed to do??”

Amid the criticism, Llamas attempted to clarify in another tweet, “Let me clear this up–we were w/police who had discovered a dead body & mentioned we saw ppl w/faces covered going into a supermarket nearby.”

Thousands have been displaced as a result of the storm. According to the Washington Post, officials predict that “more than 30,000 people may be forced into temporary shelters.”

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