Journalist Ben Thompson had to report on a giant python live on air, despite his snake phobia. So, he came up with a unique solution.
It's natural to be fearful of something, we all are. Most of us try to get over our fear by facing them but some of us, don't like to even address them. Ben Thompson, a BBC journalist, had to report on a giant python live on air, despite his snake phobia, which had him hiding his face behind his own scripts. The news anchor was unfortunate enough to be given a story about the largest python ever recorded in Florida, complete with horrifying footage of a man capturing it by allowing it to wrap itself around him while flexing its jaws. The broadcaster confessed to viewers that he was uncomfortable sharing the story and he advised those watching at home to turn away if they, too, had a fear of the reptile.
When you have to report news about snakes but you are terrified of snakes pic.twitter.com/LMjnOrWSm0— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) July 17, 2023
The 41-year-old seemed nervous while speaking on BBC News, distressfully lifting his script to hide his face while the video clip played and was broadcast to millions of viewers on their screens. While addressing the viewers directly, he said, "I've been told if you have a fear of snakes to look away now, so I'm not quite sure how I can tell you this next story because I hate snakes." As he laughed anxiously, he said, "So, I'm going to do it like this," before placing his script in front of him as he continued. The audience was shown footage of the python capture, while he said, "What you can see there is actually a Florida duo, they're known locally as The Glades Boys, capturing what is, the longest ever recorded Burmese python in the US state. It weighs 125lbs, 19 feet in length and is now, officially, a record-breaking catch."
ICYMI: inform, educate AND entertain they said. ✅ https://t.co/980PSUfvvk— Ben Thompson (@BBCBenThompson) July 17, 2023
He sat with his head down covering his face with scripts. "Has it gone yet?" he asked the producers as the cameras focused on him and he appeared on screen again. Thompson was able to make light of the situation and laugh at himself after posting a link to his terrifying moment. He wrote on Twitter, "ICYMI: inform, educate AND entertain they said." The clip was also shared by fellow BBC journalist, Clare Casey. "Why did it have to be snakes?! This is how to read the news if you're scared of it - hide behind your notes @BBCBenThompson tells the story of the Burmese python captured in Florida @BBCNews," the tweet read.
Why did it have to be snakes?! This is how to read the news if you're scared of it - hide behind your notes @BBCBenThompson tells the story of the Burmese python captured in Florida @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/u5qELKdKhO— Clare Casey (@clarelcasey1) July 17, 2023
The flashnote I never want to receive from you… ‘I’ve added a python oov in the newsbelt’ 🤣— Ben Thompson (@BBCBenThompson) July 17, 2023
Ben's solution to covering the news on a snake while also dealing with herpetophobia garnered varied reactions from Twitter users. "I’m glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t watch it… I can’t look at them on screen or in books! Why would anyone want to tackle a python?" wrote @LukeDealBBC while @SamDaffodilReed commented: "I’m with you Ben, I am absolutely petrified of them, didn’t help that on a school visit I got shut in the reptile house of a zoo on my own once." "I couldn't watch it either," shared @PamDavies64.