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.


Image via TED

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.

  • Watchful Eyes

    I am proud of her. She did the absolute right thing. Ever since David Gregory took over, I stopped watching MTP because of the far left agenda that is overtly displayed by Gregory. Tim Russert was a class act, and despite his political leanings, never let it get in the way of his fair and balanced approach. This never would have happened on his watch. David Gregory is an idiot and a buffoon.

    • abcm

      How is reporting the names of two people who perpetrated a terrorist attack exemplary of a far-left agenda?

    • bullshts

      “far left agenda”???? What kind of a rock do you live under????? Seriously- you can’t be THAT ignorant about what goes on over at MTP… You clearly do NOT know what that show has become– a puppet theater for conservatives to vomit up their rhetoric and on MTP with David ‘WUSS’ Gregory– get away with it without ANY challenge whatsoever… “far left agenda”.. Jesus– what a stupid comment!

  • Mumbles

    She has a management team? Good lord, she needs to get over herself. It is completely unreasonable to expect a news show to discuss this tragedy without mentioning the people responsible for it. If she is too sensitive to handle that she needs to not do interviews. The broad is overexposed to begin with.

    • Eric

      You have no idea what these men did to her and her life… cannot believe your insensitivity.

      • Sam Wilson

        Ankle and foot.

      • abcm

        She suffered horribly, and that is so sad, but she should have handled this differently–NBC was certainly not trying to offend her, they were trying to give her a chance to tell her story. She should have declined the interview when she learned they could not honor her request that the Tsarnaev brothers not be mentioned.

        She, of course, has every right to be upset and angry over what these men–the Tsarnaev brothers–did to her life.

        But, let’s be clear: NBC was giving her an opportunity to share her experiences. They were being supportive. They did nothing wrong here.

        She’s misdirecting her anger at the wrong people.

        • Eric

          To your point on “let’s be clear”… let me correct you. CNN has embraced Adrianne, without incident, I might add, and has given her a repeated platform to share her story. NBC’s agenda for the panel was not disclosed to Adrianne at the time, and they immediately went back on their agreement not to mention the perpetrators names…
          NBC is completely in the wrong here. If you agree to terms… you stick to them.

  • 0796616

    You can’t do a show about the bombings without mentioning who’s responsible for them. If Adrianne’s not ready to do that, then she shouldn’t agree to participate. Their job is to give the NEWS

  • A. Tasso

    I agree with NBC’s decision. Sure they can guarantee one of their own people won’t mention the name. But this was a roundtable with non-NBC folks. Cannot control what the others might say. Haslet is the one who is being totally unreasonable. Glad she walked.

  • tlg02144

    Absolutely ridiculous. This broad is so over-exposed and has turned into a self-promoting money grubber. Have some humility. No one feels sorry for you and your temper tantrums. There were people hurt FAR worse, even killed that day and she walks around like shes the star of the tradgedy. Disturbing.

    • catvondyke

      She. Lost. Her. Leg. “There were people hurt far worse?” I seriously doubt that you’d be anything but traumatized if someone cut *your* leg off. Exactly how many limbs do you want her to lose before she can admit that this was a life changing and difficult experience for her?

  • Tam June

    C’mon Boston Magazine — smarten’ up! You, too, used the “v” word to describe this amazing woman!
    Kudos to Ms. Haslet-Davis for walking out of Meet the Press. The media, corporations, etc., need to be put in their place, and this amazing woman took action to do just that. She is a leader amongst, “We the people.”
    Cheers lady! Keep living and doing what you love.

    • Imnot George

      An amazing woman with a management team who throws tantrums. Sounds like an amazing opportunist to me.

      • Tam June

        Really George? Very sad comment. All I can say is I wish you peace (and I am not religious). You sound like an unhappy person. I hope your life gets better for you.

  • dankennedy

    Her request was unreasonable. But if NBC agreed to it and then pulled a switch on her, that’s just wrong.

    • CarinDr

      True, but they did tell her they couldn’t assure her the name wouldn’t be used in the discussion before she was on the set, so I think the wisdom of her particularly belligerent response is debatable. If they’d sprung it on her during filming that would have been indisputably wrong.

    • LeighWaters

      Regardless if her requests were unreasonable (which they were not), they should not have agreed/promised then completely lied. She has severe PTSD – her trigger is the bomber’s name. Being called a survivor is always more courteous than being called a victim.

      • CarinDr

        But what exactly did they agree to? That’s what I’m not clear on. They (the NBC host) could agree not to use the name, but how could they guarantee that a guest in the roundtable wouldn’t use the name? If it is indeed a PTSD trigger, then they were right to tell her beforehand that they couldn’t make that guarantee. What do you know that I don’t? What *precisely* did they promise her that they later lied about–because that is actually quite unclear at this point. Once she chose to leave and the show was taped without her, then any use of the name the host made couldn’t be called a lie because it was in her presence that she said she didn’t want the name used.

  • ladykalous

    The “Bomber’s” Name should NEVER be said! Why give him recognition for what he did! Sick of this crap! They (todays media) make terrorists sound like hero’s! There should be NO media coverage as far as their name or picture of their face! IDC who agrees with me. They are trash and should be given the same respect as garbage! As far as them saying his name when it was requested that they not, to me its pretty obvious they must have agreed to it if the president of Meet The Press sent a message apologizing! OBVIOUS!

    • Imnot George

      Some of the media does, but not most of it. The Marathon bombers didn’t seem to want credit, they seem to have wanted to get away with it anonymously, so “giving them recognition” isn’t really a factor. They are humans who have done heinous things just like many throughout history and many who have status and respect in our society today. Should we stop saying all their names? We would wind up being practically mute.

      • ladykalous

        Really? Did you really just say that? How ridiculous. Why do you have to read into for more than it is. Half the problem with the world today people cant just leave it as it is said. They always gotta read deeper! SMH
        I wasnt just referring to this story, all of them! Why should they get popularity ratings? Why should they get any coverage? And to say we would wind up practically mute is just stupid! There are so many other things to talk about other than terrorists actions. Im not saying that public shouldnt be made aware of terroristic activity. Im just saying in situations as this, Oklahoma bombing is another one, I had a family member involved with that one, not injured thank God but on the medical side of it. She took care of the injured ones! Its sick that people like him and the Boston bomber are basically made famous for their inhumane actions. They deserve no recognition for thier actions, and should be put to INSTANT death! THey dont even deserve a trial as far as I am concerned! They should be killed and forgotten (as much as possible) Its hard enough for the victims with out being reminded of their attacker!

        • Imnot George

          Yeah, that is a great solution, no trial, no jury, no rights, no representation. Who decides which “monsters” or “criminals” get this treatment or it is all of them?

          Just make the police and victims families the enforcement, judge, jury and executioners. There wouldn’t ever be any miscarriages of justice and we would all feel better for the retribution!

          Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye will leave everyone blind.”

          Not saying the names of terrorists or mass murderers will do nothing but make us all mute. Characterizing them as monsters rather than humans is disingenuous and false. They are not “famous” they are infamous. Your foolish suggestion (did you really say no trials and immediate execution?) doesn’t lend any credence to any of your opinions and just confirms that no one should consider anything you say seriously.

          • ladykalous

            Yes I did say that. If there is no doubt that they carried out a terroristic act, save all the tax payers some grief and put them in front of a firing squad! They deserve no mercy! They had none so why should they get it! Their intent was to cause as much pain and suffering as possible and they deserve the same! What good is a trial when its a well know fact they carried it out! When all the proof is pointed at them. Some even admit they did it proudly! With their arrogant attitudes and cocky walks! NO they DO NOT deserve a trial! They deserve a fast walk down death row lane! And NO they should NOT get lethal injection! Why should they get a painless death after all the pain they inflicted! Criminals dont deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. They chose their road! They get what deserve! Why would a criminal want to stay out of jail when they everything they want and need in it? Why should tax payers pay for them to sit on death row for ten years? How is that right?!

          • abcm

            It’s right because it’s our justice system. These are the rules Americans have agreed, collectively, to live by. So, yes, the surviving bomber does deserve a trial under our laws, regardless of your opinion on the matter, that is a constitutional right.

            If you don’t like it, you are free to move to a country where the kind of justice you advocate is allowed (like, say, Afghanistan). Or vote for a politician who wants to reform the justice system that you agree with.

            But you can’t throw democracy out the window for particularly heinous crimes. It’s not showing criminals mercy, by the way, it’s allowing the system work. You should have more respect for it, since it is, after all, what distinguishes us from parts of the world where there is no justice.

          • ladykalous

            Sigh……………blah blah blah

          • Imnot George

            You are disrespectful and obtuse apparently. Who gets to decide which people and crimes have “no doubt” and the person accused gets “no mercy” you? Empress Kalous? Off with their heads? We already execute innocent people for crimes they didn’t do, but apparently that is OK with you. Which of your friends and family would it be OK to have accused and executed summarily if someone thought they committed a heinous crime?

  • Piper3

    This woman is arrogant, entitled, self-absorbed and using the victim card, ad nauseam. People were *killed* that day, including an innocent child, and our troops lose limbs at an alarming rate, yet she throws an insulting temper tantrum like a toddler. Get over yourself, lady, and show some humility and class. Don’t like the press? Then stop throwing yourself at the press.

  • Imnot George

    Let’s see…. a victim…er…”survivor” with a management team? Sounds more like an opportunist. I have no problem with her asking to be referred to as a survivor rather than a victim, but defining the discussion of a serious event by demanding that the bomber’s names (one dead, the other not yet convicted) never be mentioned is absurd.

    How about the coal company that kills dozens of miners, should we never mention their name? The chemical company that poisons hundreds, the President that starts wars and thousands die because of lies? Where does it all stop?

  • Mieka

    Adrianne is a shameless, ungrateful excuse for a human being. How DARE she milk the public and press for funds (millions!) while amputees from war get nothing and show humbleness and dignity, in spite of their wounds. She has managed to not only come off as a money/fame seeker, she’s become a legend in her own mind. Get off your pedestal and stop using your injury to see your face on television.

  • Getfiddle Man

    Haslet-Davis’ expectations that she could demand censorship of NBC broadcast content is unrealistic and naive. She is young, inexperienced and has the right to refuse to appear under the circumstances. I doubt that NBC gave her any guarantee, verbal or otherwise, and she probably inferred from their listening that they would comply with her conditions. NBC could not guarantee that other panel members would not use the perpetrator’s name. Haslet-Davis had an opportunity to make her personal demands known on air during the broadcast, but again, her inexperience and youth probably prevented her from making that choice. Nevertheless, this incident takes nothing away from this intelligent, talented and courageous young woman.