Some Of These Union Protesters Need A Lesson In Civility, And Decency

Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks had a run-in yesterday with a union protester who decided, for some reason, to picket the FreedomWorks office in Washington, D.C.

Today, union thugs descended on the FreedomWorks office. It was the middle of the day, and there was some excitement outside as all the buses pulled up and people started to fill the courtyard. We decided to go out and show our support for freedom

We wandered around talking to people, and saw the buses lined up on the street. NEA, AFT, SEIU, and CWA signs dominated – a veritable “who’s who” of union thuggery, to be sure. They all had on matching tee shirts and printed signs, as is to be expected.

I was taking pictures and video with my phone, and I heard my coworker getting into a heated exchange with one of the protesters. I turned on my iPhone camera and headed over to film it. They were going back and forth, the protester called my colleague a “little sh*t” just as I walked up, which is where the video starts.

Here’s the video:

Hale comments further:

Basically, it’s ridiculous. I’m a 5-1 female in a dress, and he was standing up on a garden wall above me in the courtyard. He hardly felt threatened. I was stunned, because generally protesters are there to, you know, get their message out. They don’t normally shy away from the camera.


This just can’t be tolerated anymore. It’s one thing to be called a violent teabagger. It’s another to be called a violent teabagger while you’re being assaulted. They’ve been comparing themselves to the Egyptians ousting Mubarak. Looks like they’re not too far off, given that they share the tendency to assault women with cameras.


I was not asking for this. There was no confrontation between the thug and myself prior to this. He had not asked me to put the camera away. I was not as close as the video implies (it was cropped from a vertical iPhone video so it would fit on youtube). I was simply filming a protest, as I have done for the past two years. Amazingly enough, none of those crazy right wing extremists ever hit me.

This happened on the same day that a Democratic Congressman said that it was time for the union protests to “get bloody”:

A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.

I have yet to see any prominent Democrats or commentators on the left denounce Capuano’s statement. Obviously, if this statement had been made by Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin, they would’ve been all over it. There’s really no place for rhetoric like this, or for what happened to Tabitha Hale, and the blatant double standard I see in the media  when stuff like this happens is really quite shocking.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Ron says:

    Hi Doug:

    The statement was wrong, and the Congressman has already apologized:

    On Wednesday afternoon, Capuano issued a brief apology: “I strongly believe in standing up for worker rights and my passion for preserving those rights may have gotten the best of me yesterday in an unscripted speech. I wish I had used different language to express my passion and I regret my choice of words.”

  2. Dean says:

    Doug, the most shocking thing about this article, is that your shocked by “the blatant double standard.” This has been ongoing for quite some time.

    I think the rhetoric would be toned down on both sides if both Republicans and Democrats were held to an equal standard by the media AND if each side would be more self-policing. When Rep. Giffords was shot and 6 others murdered in Arizona, the President and many others called for civility which was likely intended to give the impression that the vitriol was only used by those on the right.

    It’s clear from what we are seeing in Madison that neither side has a monopoly on horribly out of line rhetoric, regardless of our right to free speech in America.

    From a politics perspective, it seems as though Democrats are getting the NBA superstar treatment by the media–a different set of rules as to what’s a foul and what’s not.

  3. sam says:

    He later said he regrets saying that:

    “I wish I had chosen different language to express my passion…and I regret my choice of words”

    But, “the blatant double standard I see in the media when stuff like this happens is really quite shocking” — let’s see, obscure state rep from Massachusetts vs. Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin, the two great political divas of modern American politics– hmmm, yeah, they’re sure commensurate news-wise.

    For the record, I object to what he said.

  4. wr says:

    I love these Freedom Works people: “All we’re trying to do is steal your most basic rights and reduce you to poverty because it will bring a couple extra dollars to the billionaires who pay us — and you won’t be nice to me? Why can’t we have a civil conversation about the fact that you should die in poverty because my boss hates it that there’s a middle class?”

  5. Vast Variety says:

    Freedom Works complaining about incivility of protesters is a lot like a pot calling the kettle black. Have we all ready forgotten out the Freedom Works orchestrated Summer of rage?

  6. Tano says:

    “…the blatant double standard I see in the media …— let’s see, obscure state rep from Massachusetts vs. Michelle Bachmann or Sarah Palin, ”

    Plus, as noted, he apologized. When have the rightwingers ever apologized for their extremism? Quite the contrary, they go off an raise money off of it.

    Double standard indeed…

  7. Steven Plunk says:

    Funny how the Tea Party is often accused of inciting violence but then it’s the Left that often actually commits it.

    Even here we find those on the left making excuses and pointing fingers when their silence would serve them better. Sure the Congressman apologized, after he was called on it. So far no apology from the thug in the video.

  8. wr says:

    Steven Plunk — This guy brushed someone with his sign. If this is the kind of violence that sends you hiding under your bed, I don’t know how you step out your front door every morning.

    Meanwhile, one of your beloved anti-immigration activists was just sentenced to death for the cold blooded murder of a nine year old girl whose in the course of a robbery of non-existent drugs.

    I think I’d rather side with “my” thugs than your child murderers.

  9. Steven Plunk says:

    wr, Making excuses for the burly guy that pushed a 5’1″ woman to the ground? He admitted on camera he struck her. That’s not brushing her with a sign but if you want to think that it’s okay. BTW, I don’t hide under my bed for anyone but I also don’t bully women like union thugs do.

    The criminal sentenced for that crime was not beloved by me and you should know better than to make such accusations. I guess lashing out is all you have left. A pathetic attempt but what I expected.

  10. MM says:

    A representative from the company that encouraged people to protest with signs that said things like “Obamacare:If Brown can’t stop it then a Browning can” and “we came unarmed. This time” and “Obamanomics: monkey see monkey spend” would like to let you lefties know that you are terribly uncivil.

  11. wr says:

    “Union thugs.”

    Keep repeating that, as you support the people who are taking money from teachers to give to billionaires.

    Got to do something so you can look in the mirror.

  12. Gulliver says:

    wr –
    “I love these Freedom Works people: “All we’re trying to do is steal your most basic rights and reduce you to poverty because it will bring a couple extra dollars to the billionaires who pay us…”

    Nice projection you’ve got going there. Next you’ll be saying that the reason the democrats can’t govern in Wisconsin is because the Republicans ran away to prevent a vote. That would have as much truth to it as the statement above. In a word, none.

  13. The funny thing is that if the roles were reversed here I know you people would be screaming about the Teabagger who attacked a woman. So, the complaints about Freedomworks are pretty hypocritical.

    Also, I know Tabitha. She’s nothing like the person these comments have characterized her to be.

  14. wr says:

    I don’t know Tabitha. I know that Freedom Works exists to impoverish workers and enrich billionaires. So I understand why people are upset at them.

    I hope she wasn’t seriously hurt. and believe the guy who hit her, with sign or not, was out of line.

    And if the guy stomped on her head, I’ll blast him like a teabagger.

  15. Hmm says:

    Doug, Tabitha has gone on record comparing herself to Lara Logan and the union protestors — ALL of them, not just this guy — to the men who raped her. Spare us the “she’s a decent person and would never behave in such an uncouth manner” bullshit — she either had her Iphone shoved or was shoved herself. Either was wrong, but neither is anywhere close to being publicly stripped, beaten within an inch of one’s life and sexually assaulted.

    Maybe you should work on being a little less credulous.

  16. Hmm says:

    Here’s the post at RedState where Tabitha wrote that what happened to her was the same as what happened to Logan:

    Not an off-the-cuff comment, not elicited by “gotcha” journalism, or anything of that sort. She sat down to write about this, and after thinking it through this is what came out.

    Cut the crap, Doug.

  17. M. Bouffant says:

    pushed a 5’1″ woman to the ground?

    Did you even watch the video? The woman was shoving her iPhone in the guy’s face, he shoved his sign against it & she dropped it, then started screeching about her “personal property.” The camera fell down, she didn’t.

    Anxiously awaiting the assault charges to be filed. Holding my breath, even.