Petra Laszlo was at the border between Hungary and Serbia, filming the flight of several Syrian migrants from Hungarian police in September 2015. Laszlo was filmed kicking two people, a young man and what appeared to be a young girl. Both kept running after being kicked, seemingly unharmed.
Another clip surfaced showing her appearing to trip a 52-year-old refugee carrying a child, although the camera angle did not provide a clear view.
When the footage leaked online, it swiftly went viral. Laszlo was fired from N1TV, the right-wing television station she worked for. She claimed in court to have been the victim of a "hate campaign" for her actions.
"I'm just an unemployed mother of small children, who made a bad decision. I am truly sorry," wrote Laszlo in an open letter published in Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.
"I'm not a heartless, racist children-kicking [camerawoman]. I do not deserve the political witch hunts against me, nor the smears, [or] the death threats… I am truly sorry."
In an interview with another paper, Russia's Ivestia, Laszlo claimed "I pushed [the man with a child] only because I was afraid. I did not see that there was a child. I'm sorry that it turned out this way."
"I can definitely say that my life is ruined. It's unlikely that I will be able to find a job and do what I like the most."
Now she faces three years' probation, after judge Iles Nanasi rejected her claims of self defense. Laszlo's actions "ran counter to societal norms," he said. He also ordered Laszlo to pay a fine of 53,000 forints (about $183.)
Laszlo appeared in a tearful video statement to the court where she vowed to to appeal the decision. "It was all over within two seconds," she said. "Everybody was shouting, it was very frightening." She did not appear in person at the trial due to death threats levied against her.
In a twist, the refugee that Laszlo tripped, Osama Abdul Mohsen, has been accused by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party of being a member of the terrorist group al-Nusra Front, with numerous crimes to his name. Mohsen, who has settled in Spain, denies the allegations.
In the same month that Laszlo became famous, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ordered razor-wire fences built along the nation's southern border. This caused the flow of migrants and refugees through Hungary to shrink significantly.