Marathon Survivor Walks off the Set of Meet the Press

Adrianne Haslet-Davis said she was disrespected by the show when they used the bombing suspect's name after she asked them not to.
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Adrianne Haslet-Davis has been through a lot in the last year. In 12 months, the professional dancer learned how to walk using a prosthetic leg, started to cope in the aftermath of the horrific marathon bombings, and even mustered up the courage to hit the stage and dance for the first time since she was injured.

But one thing she didn’t want to deal with was the “disrespect” of the producers of Meet the Press.

In a series of tweets posted to her account on Friday, Haslet-Davis, who lost part of her left leg when the bombs went off at the finish line last year, said she left the show’s set prior to taping an interview with Meet the Press after they broke a promise they had made to her one day prior.

According to Haslet-Davis, the show had allegedly vowed not to utter the name of one of the bombing suspects, but before the taping they failed to adhere to that guarantee. “Cannot believe [Meet the Press] chose to use the bombers name instead of respect their guest. Had to walk off set crying,” Haslet-Davis tweeted to her followers. “I feel so disrespected. I asked politely yesterday and you said yes. Now you choose to use the name instead.”

In a follow-up post on her website, Haslet-Davis said she had asked the producers for two things:

…One being that his name (and you know to whom I refer to) not be mentioned in my presence. Your decision to back out on that promise you made and the horrific way you brought that decision to my attention just minutes prior to taping was not only a cowardice move but a dishonorable one as well. To say that I am hurt is an understatement, for you not only disrespected me, you disrespected the survivors of the bombing and the victims memories by blatantly disregarding this request and putting the value of a terrorist’s name, who put a city in turmoil and caused irrevocable damage physically and emotionally to people of this city, over Boston’s integrity, fortitude, and my personal well being.

The second request, she said, was to be referred to as a “survivor,” and not a victim, something Haslet-Davis noted in her post that the network respected.

Meet the Press is scheduled to air a special episode on Sunday about the Boston Marathon bombings. An NBC spokesperson said in an email to Boston that Haslet-Davis was supposed to be part of a roundtable discussion about the incident. She had asked that the suspects’ names not be used, “but given the nature of the discussion we couldn’t make that guarantee,” they said. “Adrianne Haslet-Davis is an inspiring survivor with an important story to share…we regret any distress caused by this miscommunication,” the statement said.

Haslet-Davis allegedly chose to leave before the taping began, before she was even on set. NBC News president Deborah Turness personally called her afterward to express regret.

Boston reached out to Haslet-Davis and her management team, but did not immediately receive a reply.

After sharing what happened on Twitter, people started to respond to the bombing victim’s outrage. Followers started offering support to Haslet-Davis, and encouraged her that she did the right thing. “Sorry that happened to you sweet girl. Some people forget how to be human. They lost a viewer and others will follow,” one person said.

Some of the messages of anger toward NBC’s show even carried over to their Facebook page:

It is sad that you cannot carry out a victims request for one day! Attention should be only on the those that were victims. Focus on what they have overcome in the last year! Amazing people with amazing stories.

Haslet-Davis retweeted all of the supportive messages that started to flood her Twitter stream. After walking off set, Haslett-Davis turned a cheek to the broken promise, and used it as an opportunity to tell others to remember the victims of the attack, and not the names of the suspect. “Let’s change the dialect to honor the survivors and not focus on the criminals. Shame on you [Meet the Press],” she said.


Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine sannear@bostonmagazine.com