This week, the Florida bartender unveiled himself as the videographer of the now-notorious comments made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a May 2012 fundraiser. Prouty had chosen to remain anonymous during the initial media firestorm surrounding the video, in which Romney, among other things, is heard dismissing almost half of the nation’s citizens as individuals who would never vote for him because they are “dependent” on government handouts. Prouty chose to do so for several reasons.
First, he feared for his personal safety and potential loss of his livelihood. But mostly, he said he wanted the focus of the story to be solely on “Mitt Romney’s words, and only Mitt Romney’s words."
Prouty has been on a whirlwind tour of television and Web interviews this week, which he told HuffPost Live will end on Monday when he returns to his “normal life” in Florida. But the conservative media, particularly Fox News, has been noticeably silent.
As of late Friday morning, a search for “Scott Prouty” on the main Fox News website brought no results. The only Web result that appears originates from a Fox subsidiary in Wisconsin that reposted a CNN story.
The right-wing news website World Daily Net has been similarly silent about Prouty, who many believe tipped the 2012 election toward President Barack Obama with the release of his video. But a search for “Scott Prouty” on the site shows it actually reposted a Reuters article about the videographer’s interview with MSNBC.
Some smaller conservative-leaning websites have, rather ungraciously, acknowledged Prouty’s existence. On Thursday, Newsmax -- who said the 47 percent video provided the Obama campaign with “ample fodder to claim that Romney only cared about rich people” -- published a story about how the Floridian reportedly owes thousands of dollars in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.
NewsBusters, which describes itself as a organization devoted to “documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias,” had harsher words. In an article posted by Kyle Drennen on Thursday, the author criticizes Prouty for identifying himself as a political independent despite his “obvious left-wing ideology.”
The writer also alleges Prouty intentionally recorded the fundraiser with intention of derailing the GOP candidate’s campaign and condemns him for telling MSNBC he had “struggled” over his decision to leak the tape because, “in reality, Prouty happily told [the host of MSNBC’s 'The Ed Show'] Shultz how pleased he was that the video damaged Romney’s campaign.”
Prouty was originally driven to release the Romney video after hearing the presidential candidate’s nonchalant comments about Chinese factory workers, mainly women between the ages of 18 and 23, living in work camp-like conditions. Romney is heard boasting about the “pittance” earned by the workers, who apparently slept in crowded dormitories piled with bunk beds, with one bathroom for every 100 or so workers.
Romney, in the leaked footage, claims the factory owners were forced to lock their employees in and surround the building with barbed wire, because “people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out.” But to Prouty, it was clear that any man who could boast about the fact that female workers were being underpaid and locked away was not a man who would seriously fight for the benefits of lower and middle class Americans.
“It’s wrong on so many different levels,” he told MSNBC. “You know, essentially what he’s talking about is almost a prison camp in Communist China.”
In every public interview since Wednesday, Prouty has emphasized he released the video for the benefit of average Americans who cannot afford to attend $50,000-per-plate political fundraisers.
Prouty, who connected with international labor rights activist Charles Kernaghan while researching the factory cited by Romney, is a staunch supporter of workers’ rights. He is currently in talks to work for the United Steelworkers union, according to the Huffington Post.