Opinion: Former PHL17 reporter in viral video needs to learn humility
"If that were a black newswoman and a white cop, the conversation would not be about her possibly being roofied," Metro columnist writes.
By now, we’ve all watched the viral video of Colleen Campbell, 28, in an almost-parody of Tina Fey’s South Philly accent, destroy her career at PHL 17 within a few agonizing, obnoxious drunken minutes.
Props to the police officer who kept his cool and obviously had nothing better to do (you know, like stop murders, stabbings, etc.) and the co-worker who tried to have her back. I’m sure he didn’t want to go full knight in shining armor and throw his fiery lass over his shoulder, saving her from certain doom, as she is an adult after all. That and possible future lawsuits, as she is obviously a wee bit “unstable.”
But here’s the thing — this chick is 28 years old. Like you never got roaring drunk and made a complete, beligerent ass out of yourself. Perhaps there were no cell phones capable of recording it back then, or you lucked out and no one saw it. She claimed to have one drink at the comedy club, was bartending previously and had some shots and a margarita while pregaming at another location. So that’s, uhhhh, a lot of booze for a small South Philly girl, especially if she was drinking while working at the bar.
Her female white privilege was shining through, especially when she is screaming in the cop’s face (who is African-American). She obviously felt some form of superiority and protection by being in the news, as well as by her comment, “I work at a f—ing news station, motherf—er.”
If that were a black newswoman and a white cop, the conversation would not be about her possibly being roofied. And if you know anyone who has been roofied or have experienced it yourself, the coherence of speech — even movement — is almost nonexistent. She seemed pretty spry and spiteful.
Friends of hers have claimed she was always a sweet, mild-mannered woman. Other friends claim no, this is really how she is, and the liquor intensified it. But video doesn’t lie. She was getting South Philly scrappy, and it’s now news for the whole world to see. C’mon Philly, can’t we be known for better things than this and some kids punching a special needs man?!
When I first moved to Philly, I used to roll into the newspaper and talk about how much fun and debauchery I had the night before, to which my managing editor would respond, “Keep it on the down low, Cass.” Everyone in news should know this. You want to be a hot mess? Go ahead and be a hot mess. Just don’t do it in public. There’s a reason the stereotypical newsroom from back in the day was portrayed with a bottle in the desk drawer and cigarettes burning in ashtrays. But we’ve evolved beyond that … I think.
We’re supposed to be role models, although not perfect, like any other human being.
However, you won’t see me as an editor sending drunken and possibly drug-fueled, spiteful emails to people I work with late at night putting them down (experienced it), trying to molest married women at alcohol tastings (heard about it) or getting kicked out of bars for being too wasted … much like Campbell, who was allegedly talking loudly during the show and was asked to leave.
Respect is what it comes down to. Have some for yourself, your fans, your colleagues and fellow comedy show attendees. I just hope this woman has the cojones to woman up and apologize publicly to everyone involved face-to-face. Then maybe she will stop getting dragged through the mud.
Humility goes a long way. But her career, I fear, will not be Philly-based anymore.