Outraged parents accuse Reuters of ‘set-up’, taking pictures of kids with guns at NRA event without consent

Reuters is being raked over the coals after one of its photographers allegedly took pictures of young children handling guns at an NRA event in Indianapolis without first getting their parents’ permission.

The photos, snapped at the NRA’s annual meeting last week, have since been “exploited” by media outlets such as the Daily Mail and Insider, which used them as graphics in articles about gun deaths, Fox News Digital (FND) reports.

While we will not use the images in question, one is of Dan Eckart’s 6-year-old grandchild aiming a firearm toward photographer Evelyn Hockstein’s camera.

Eckart called the photo “a set-up.”

“What I noticed was [the photographer] was moving around so that whichever direction [his grandson] was, she tried to get in front of him,” he told FND. “That picture was a set-up.”

The photos were picked up by media outlets to illustrate the frequency of child deaths in the U.S. by fatal gunfire.

While Eckart acknowledged that Hockstein identified herself as a member of Reuters’ staff, he said that, because of her “chit-chatting” with him, he was under the “impression that she … was there on behalf of the NRA.”

The grandfather gave Hockstein his name and the name and age of his grandson thinking the pictures would be part of something as innocuous as an NRA collage.

The child’s dad, Nathan Eckart, skipped the event and he and his wife are now fighting to get the photos removed from Reuters’ website and pulled from the articles that ran them.

The photographer “set the photo up so that it looked like [his son] took the gun and was aiming it at her face,” Nathan said.

Meanwhile, Reuters is backing its photographer and rejecting “any suggestion of wrongdoing by the Reuters photojournalist covering the NRA convention in Indianapolis.”

With regard to Nathan’s claim, a company spokesperson said that “it is untrue that [the photographer] asked a child to look at her” in order to get the shot of the boy aiming a weapon at the camera lens.

“We stand by our photographs, which are in the public interest and meet our standards under the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles,” the spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

“Our photographer was at all times wearing a press badge and clearly introduced herself to adults as a photojournalist working for Reuters before taking any pictures of children,” the spokesperson continued. “She took these pictures in a section of the convention designated for media, where signs informed attendees that they might be photographed by the press, and also obtained consent of all photographed from parents or guardians, not children.”

Nevertheless, as a “courtesy,” Reuters removed the children’s names from the photos.

NRA Director of Media Relations Amy Hunter suggested that Reuters was “provided false information,” telling FND that “there are no signs that say attendees might get pictured by the press or members of the media and the NRA has never had a ‘designated media section’ on the exhibit floor.”

“The only signs on the floor advise attendees that their images may be used to promote NRA programs,” she said.

When asked about Hunter’s remarks, Reuters updated its statement to say that Hockstein took the pictures “in a section of the convention designated for media, where signs informed attendees that they might be photographed.”

The Eckart’s child wasn’t the only one featured in Reuters’ shots.

Another couple who wished to remain anonymous out of concern for their family’s safety told FND that their children, ranging from ages 5 to 10, were photographed before Hockstein identified herself as an employee of Reuters.

“Our kids’ photos have been taken other times during the conventions, so we didn’t think too much of it,” the mom said. “The photographer was smiling as she took the photos and was commenting to us how cute our kids were. But she never asked for permission beforehand or ask for consent to use or distribute them.”

“A lot of the organizations and the people that distributed and shared these photos, they purport to be all about children’s safety,” the concerned mother said. “… The manner in which these photos were taken and used, and the comments made on them are only promoting and encouraging hate aimed at our children and our family.”

Now both families are being accused by the media and social media commenters of “grooming future murderers” and teaching their kids “to be gun-toting murderers.”

Insider removed the photos of the children from an article it ran claiming “Guns are the leading cause of death among US children,” but Dan Eckart said he believed Hockstein’s photos “endangered us.”

“This is the honest truth,” he said. “I got about an hour and a half sleep last night. I laid there awake all night thinking about, you know the potential ramifications for our grandson.”

Hunter accused Hockstein and the media of “exploiting minors.”

“What is equally as distressing as a member of the press corps representing an allegedly respected news organization exploiting minors and misleading their parents is the fact that gun control groups were quick to jump on this matter,” she said, “and further exploit the images of these children on social media.”


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