A reporter has found out the hard way that teens don’t like it when you cut off their easy access to alcohol.
Andrea McCarren, a long time TV reporter for WUSA in Washington, DC, produced a report about underage drinking that featured the Town Square Market, a local liquor store that was allegedly selling alcohol to minors.
McCarren and her news crew shot footage of teenagers leaving the store with beer, and using hidden microphones they recorded the young teens — one is only 14 years old — saying that they ran into little resistance buying the alcohol.
It would seem McCarren was performing a public service, but according to the Washington Post she instead drew a lot of online profane messages from teenagers and college students mad that their beer supply had been outed.
“You are now probably the MOST hated woman in the D.C. area,” one commenter said. “Yay you! What was the point really of doing that story? No one finds it interesting… but you also just ruined weekends for all kids underage.”
While McCarren is no stranger to criticism, she decided to step away from her underage drinking series after her own children said that they were being harassed at school by fellow students over the reports.
McCarren also stated that someone had posted a teen drinking party event on Facebook, using her home address, prompting her to call the police.
WUSA news director Fred D’Ambrosi backed McCarren’s decision to take a break from the underage drinking subject after her children were bullied.
Mike Cavender, executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, called McCarren’s situation “unusual” and that local TV journalists rarely deal with such a drawn out backlash to a story.