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ESPN suspends reporter after insult-laced video surfaces

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  • ESPN reporter Britt McHenry, right, interviewed Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith after a Sept. 2014 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

ARLINGTON, Va. » ESPN suspended reporter Britt McHenry on Thursday after a video surfaced of her insulting a towing company clerk’s intelligence, job and appearance.

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said in a statement that McHenry has been suspended for a week.

McHenry, a Washington-based reporter for the sports network since March 2014, turned to Twitter to apologize.

"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 Thursday. "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."

Advanced Towing Co. released a statement Friday afternoon saying neither the clerk nor the company wanted McHenry suspended or terminated.

"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," said the statement, which was published by The Washington Post.

The statement also said the clerk, identified only as Gina, is a single mother of three "who works a difficult job" to provide for her family and "Gina holds no ill will toward Ms. McHenry."

In a Twitter exchange with earlier this month, McHenry said her vehicle was towed from the lot in front of the Arlington restaurant where she ate dinner.

The edited video posted this week to video sharing site LiveLeak claims to show McHenry berating the clerk on April 5 with gems like: "Maybe if I was missing some teeth, they would hire me, huh?"

McHenry tells the woman she is "in the news" and will sue the company. At one point a woman off-screen warns McHenry she is being recorded. McHenry then looks up wide-eyed into the camera, before the video cuts to another insult in which McHenry disparages the clerk’s education and weight.

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