The Guy Who Taped the ’47 Percent’ Video Is from Boston
The man who filmed Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments revealed himself on MSNBC Wednesday night and —mildly surprising given the comments were recorded at a Boca Raton fundraiser—he’s from Boston.
Scott Prouty sat for an interview with MSNBC host Ed Schultz to explain his reasons for releasing the speech and for remaining anonymous this long. Prouty, who tended bar at the Mitt Romney fundraiser where the candidate suggested that 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax would never vote for him, said that he debated releasing the video because he didn’t want to disrespect his employers. But he explained how his background influenced his decision:
The people that were there that night, they paid $50,000 per person for dinner. You know, I grew up in a blue collar area in Boston. Nobody I know can pay — can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner. I just don’t know anybody that can do that.
And in a way, I felt like, you know, whether you are a Republican or an independent or, there’s a lot of people who can’t afford to pay $50,000 for one night, for one dinner. I felt an obligation in a way, to release it. I felt an obligation for all the people who can’t afford to be there, you shouldn`t have to be able to afford $50,000 to hear what the candidate actually thinks.
Prouty says he’s a registered independent though he usually votes Democratic. He was shocked at the difference between what Romney said in private and the tone he struck in public speeches. At the time, Prouty focused in particular on an anecdote Romney told about young women working at a factory in China, but acknowledged that in the press, Romney’s comments about taxpayers overshadowed the story about China. As for remaining anonymous through the campaign, Prouty explained:
I wanted his words to be the absolute center of attention. Maybe it would be fun to go on a show or do this show or that, but I thought that would change the topic of the conversation away from the primary thing that was most important to me.
Though it’s the first time we’ve actually heard from Prouty, it’s not the first we’ve heard about him. In September, Buzzfeed published a timeline of his attempts to make the video go viral before he contacted Mother Jones, which broke the story. After Prouty appeared Wednesday, Mother Jones‘s David Corn published his tale of dealing with Prouty, writing:
On a daily basis, I thought about what it was like to hold such a secret. No doubt, Prouty had been in conversations about the 47 percent video. How strange that must have been. How great the temptation to say, “That was me.” People who knew he was at the fundraiser might have asked whether he was the guy. How did he respond? It was odd to share a big-time secret, though certainly much more difficult for him. After all, I was receiving plenty of attention, and he deserved the same—if he wanted it.
Well, he’s got it now. Welcome to the limelight, Scott Prouty.