Source: ESPN Reporter Britt McHenry Provoked by Towing Company Employee

by Antoinette Bueno 1:01 PM PDT, April 17, 2015
Playing Source: ESPN Reporter Britt McHenry Provoked by Towing Company Employee

There's two sides to every story... and while ESPN's Britt McHenry might not be able to talk about her now viral Easter Sunday towing experience thanks to a week-long suspension, another source is speaking up.

McHenry was suspended for a week after surveillance video of her berating a towing company employee went public, but a source tells ET that the women in the video also provoked the Washington D.C.-based sports reporter during the April 5 incident.

In the video, McHenry is seen making comments about the woman's weight and other employees' lack of education.

"Do you feel good about your job?" she asks at one point. "So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing? Why, 'cause I have a brain and you don't?"

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However, according to a source, the Advanced Towing employee was "rude, dismissive and taunting," and the tape released is "highly edited" to show only McHenry in an unflattering light. For example, her dig to "lose some weight, baby girl" was allegedly a response to the employee telling her to "fix your roots."

McHenry did tweet about the incident on April 6, writing in a now-deleted post, "Just got towed after eating dinner at an establishment in Arlington. How corrupt is Advanced Towing?"

Advanced Towing Company, LLC currently has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau and there have been 40 complaints to the BBB about the company in the last three years. The company also made negative headlines earlier this month, when an Arlington father said his car -- with his two children inside -- were nearly towed away during a recent trip to a local CVS when an Advanced Towing driver didn't see the children initially.

Still, the source says McHenry suggested that she go back to Arlington and offer an apology directly to the employee, Gina Michelle, on April 7, but was advised not to by ESPN, as it be better to not engage. The source also claims Advance Towing has been "shopping the tape around," and even approached ESPN before the video went viral.

The towing company responded to that clam in a statement released to ET:

Parking enforcement is contentious by nature. At the same time, neither Gina, our lot clerk, nor our company, have any interest in seeing Britt McHenry suspended or terminated as a result of her comments.

Ms. McHenry is our neighbor, and, as she said, to paraphrase, made remarks that were out of line. She is human and errors in judgement can be made in the heat of the moment.

Gina is a single mother of 3 children who works a difficult job to provide her family. Gina holds no ill will toward Ms. McHenry.

As a small business, we saw no benefit to releasing the video, except to highlight personal attacks employees in jobs like towing, public parking enforcement and others sometimes encounter. The video was not licensed or sold to anyone.

For her part, McHenry apologized for her actions on Thursday on Twitter.

"In an intense and stressful moment, I allowed my emotions to get the best of me and said some insulting and regrettable things," she tweeted. "As frustrated as I was, I should always choose to be respectful and take the high road. I am so sorry for my actions and will learn from this mistake."

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