Updated 04/17/2009 07:46 PM
Bloomberg Apologizes After Chastising Reporter
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized to a wheelchair-bound reporter Friday, a day after he chastised him when his tape recorder went off during a news conference, bringing the event to a two-minute halt.
The incident happened Friday morning when freelance reporter Michael Harris' electronic tape recorder started playing in the middle of a marriage-equality press briefing.
Bloomberg: "Something's playing, can we just stop this and we'll start again?"
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (whispering to Bloomberg): "He's disabled."
Bloomberg: "I understand that. He can still turn it off. This is a little too important for playing music. Let me start again, as soon as we can do this."
But today, the mayor spoke to Harris at an event in Coney Island and apologized for the comments.
"The mayor came over to me and he said that he felt what happened yesterday was disruptive, that he's always made every effort to accommodate me, that he respects my work," said Harris. "He said he thinks that I'm an excellent reporter and that he would have done what he did to any reporter who had been in that situation, and he apologized if I in any way took offense."
Harris, who is also a disability rights activist, said he accepted the mayor's apology and that it's time to move on.
Harris says the mishap occurred when a photographer accidentally knocked over his coat, which had his tape recorder in its pocket. When the coat hit the floor the recorder clicked on and began playing a tape of Newt Gingrich addressing a crowd at an event Harris attended earlier in the week.
It took Harris more than a minute to reach the recorder and switch it off.