‘Fake reporter’ who sparked outcry at Harris conference says incident was a mix-up

Woman said she had voted for the vice president, prompting an outcry she was not ‘impartial’

Louise Hall
Wednesday 09 June 2021 15:03
'Fake' reporter asks Kamala Harris question at press conference in Mexico

A “fake reporter” who caused an internet storm after telling Vice President Kamala Harris that she “voted for her” at a press conference in Mexico City has said the incident was a mix-up.

"Maria Fernanda of Univision” ruffled feathers on social media on Tuesday when she said it was an “honour” to ask the vice president a question before revealing she had voted for Ms Harris herself.

"My question is, what would you say to these women, those mothers and also women of color on both sides of the border, farmers, many of them who I see every day as a message of hope but also as–what will you do for them in the next coming years?” the woman eventually asked.

Critics were quick to hit out at the woman, who they believed was an official member of the press, saying the comments were not “impartial”.

However, Fox News has now reported that the woman heard in the video, who was not seen on camera during the exchange, is not in fact affiliated with the media company.

The woman, whose full name is Maria Fernanda Reyes, reportedly spoke with the outlet on Tuesday and confirmed she is not a journalist and that the incident was a mix-up.

Ms Reyes also told the newspaper that she was “surprised” to be called on to ask a question and that she didn’t correct the mistake because she was “caught up in the moment”.

Daniel Coronell, president of news for Univision in the US, also confirmed on Twitter on Tuesday that Ms Reyes was not associated with the company.

“Let it be clear to everyone that Ms Maria Fernanda Reyes is not part of this media organization,” he said.

In a possible explanation for the situation, Fox News reported that there is a Univision reporter named Maria Fernanda Lopez who is based in Miami.

When contacted by the broadcaster on Tuesday the journalist said she had “never traveled in my life to Mexico.”

“I was in Miami during the incident where a lady named Maria Fernanda Reyes was presented by mistake as a Univision reporter, which is incorrect,” the woman said.

In response to the confusion on social media, Symone Sanders, a senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Ms Harris, said that the White House would be “looking into” the incident.

Fox News reported that the San Francisco Bay-area entrepreneur said she has been invited to attend the vice president’s event and was asked upon arrival if she would be interested in asking a question as everyone else was.

"Everyone’s trying to twist it for their own agenda," she told the broadcaster. "I don’t care. I asked a question. If people don’t like it, fine.”

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