On the 25 of May New York-based artist and former Hunter College professor Shellyne Rodriguez was arrested following a confrontation with New York Post reporter Reuven Fenton after he showed up to her home unannounced and allegedly pounded on her door requesting an interview about an altercation between Rodriguez and a pro-life group at Hunter College earlier this month. Rodriguez, who said she believed her life was in danger, was filmed threatening Fenton with a machete before returning inside her home and closing the door. Additional footage shows the artist outside of the building with the machete in her hand.
The series of events began on 2 May when Rodriguez approached members of the anti-abortion group Students for Life of America, who set up a booth to present information on their views of reproductive rights on Hunter College city campus. In a video shared by the group, the artist is seen confronting the members and disheveling their table display, which included rubber fetal models and organisation-related postcards and printed materials.
After the group shared the footage with campus security, Rodriguez was summoned to the provost’s office for questioning and was asked to apologise for her use of profanity and for disheveling the display, which she complied with. In the following days the story was picked up by various right-wing media outlets including Fox news and New York Post and soon after went viral.
Following the confrontation with Fenton, Rodriguez was terminated from her position as an adjunct professor at Hunter College. She had experienced intense online harassment in the wake of the incident with Students for Life of America, receiving “vile and hateful emails, texts, and voicemails” containing threats of death and physical violence, as well as racial, sexual, and anti-immigrant slurs.