Turning down the advances of a Boston TV sports anchor has led to an aspiring actress and model claiming she was harassed in a Facebook post after he launched “personal attacks” on her looks, career, and hometown. Her experience appears endemic of how women in the television and movie industry are treated by many powerful men.
Alyssa Labrie, 22, wrote about her encounter with Marc James in a detailed Facebook post on Saturday, saying it all began when the NESN anchor approached her on the street last July while she was working with a photographer in Northampton.
“I discovered he is an on-air television broadcaster for NESN Sports Today and other programs, and I figured I could network professionally with him so I gave him my info,” Labrie wrote in a post that has since gone viral. “Eventually he starts texting me asking to meet up, get drinks etc. I wasn’t comfortable or interested in this so I politely tried to say I was too busy. He kept sending me photos and videos of himself acting very proud of his ‘high up tv job’ to which I stopped replying in the hopes that he would take a hint.”
James never got the hint and continued to send more requests to meet — leading her to ultimately spell out the situation for him.
“Eventually I decided to just deal with it head on and sent him a very polite and courteous no thank you to which he became instantly irate and blew up in my face with personal attacks on my appearance, career choices, and place of residence,” she wrote. “I am very frustrated that the most polite ‘no’ had to be met with combative, personal attacks on myself and my character because a 32-year-old man’s fragile ego couldn’t handle the rejection of a young woman that HE sought out on the streets of Northampton while she was working.”
Labrie’s post also included screenshots of some of the alleged messages from their exchange. In his texts to Labrie, James crows about his status as a “network TV anchor & a nationally syndicated talk show host” and makes fun of the young woman’s career path in Northampton (see below).
Labrie acknowledged that many women have received “wayyyy worse messages” and similar harassment from men, but she felt obligated to speak out.
“If he is allowed to be a public face representing a fairly large television network, then I have the right to show the world that they’re watching an insecure and very rude man who receives a polite decline and decides to harass a young woman for exerting her right to say no. I hope that any woman who comes into contact with him knows his level of aggression and lack of ability to accept a simple ‘no,’” Labrie wrote.
James, a Western Massachusetts native who was hired as an anchor and reporter by NESN in May, could not be reached for comment Thursday, but he has been suspended for two days in connection with the messages, a station source told Awful Announcing.
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