WASHINGTON -- After secretly filming Mitt Romney's now-infamous 47 percent remarks, a Florida bartender worried how releasing the tape would affect his personal life. He did nothing for weeks after the May 2012 event, wondering what to do. "I actually lost sleep having it in my house -- knowing what I heard," he told The Huffington Post in an interview late last year. "What do you do? Do you throw your life into turmoil?"
The man's life as a bartender was paycheck to paycheck. He was renting an apartment. He said he didn't own car. He didn't have a savings account. He didn't have health insurance. "I don't have close family that I could rely on for support," he explained. "I either pay my bills or I'm homeless."
HuffPost has agreed to withhold the name of the filmmaker until he breaks his silence on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" Wednesday evening, followed by an appearance on HuffPost Live Thursday morning. In interviews over the last several months, he laid out his thinking before and after Romney's speech.
The filmmaker said he spent weeks after the Romney event pondering what to do.
"I'm just one of those people that if something's bothering me I wake up at four in the morning -- just thinking. And it was literally weeks of just, you know, 'Well, hey don't lose your job, just let it sit there.' And, 'Times are tight, jobs are tough and, you know, don't rock the boat, you're happy doing what you're doing and you're about to go into the busy season of work -- you can't afford to fuck this up at all. Don't fuck it up.' But then ... I would wake up and just, it was just that thing that's in your mind that you just can't get out of your mind, you know?"
Along with the potential damage to his stability, the man said he worried how the video might hurt his employers. They were good people, a mom-and-pop operation, he said. They had always treated him fairly. "I felt like I was letting down my employer," he said. "I didn't want to hurt their business."
But he knew the election was an important one. He wondered if he would be able to look himself in the mirror if he didn't do something to make sure people saw the tape. He didn't think he could forgive himself if Romney got elected. He decided he had to release the tape.
Once the full tape aired, he said he knew he'd have to quit his bartending job. "I knew I was forfeiting the right to work there," he explained. He said he had bartended events for half the guests at the Romney speech. They all knew him and probably suspected what he had done, he said. He felt like he couldn't just go back to work. "I was worried I was going to end up dead."
"I was the only person in that specific spot," he said of where he positioned his camera that night. "There was no real doubt. I could say that they know. My employers knew and the people I worked with knew that I did it."
No one fingered him.
Releasing the video was worth risk to his wallet, he said. "It's a bigger issue than a part-time catering job," he explained. "I felt like it was my duty. I felt the guy was dangerous, to be honest. ... The one thing I didn't hear in his voice -- I didn't hear an ounce of empathy whatsoever. ... That kind of scared me a little bit."