CNN political analyst April Ryan is promising to tell “the truth” about an incident involving her bodyguard and a reporter.
The White House correspondent for American Urban Radio is planning to speak about what happened at a New Jersey event that left her bodyguard facing charges of assault, theft and harassment, saying in a video on Friday that she will address the incident on CNN Sunday.
I’ve always made it a point to bring the truth to light in every situation…even my own. Not sure what you’ve heard lately, but I’ve decided it’s time for me to share my side of the story, the real story of what happened in NJ. Hear the truth THIS SUNDAY at 11AM EST on @CNN ?? pic.twitter.com/XJNa1eu8p7
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) August 24, 2019
“You know how I’ve always said never let anyone write your story for you?” Ryan said in the video. “Well, I’m going to follow my own advice. I’m not gonna let them write that story. I’m going to tell you the truth.”
Her video came after criticism over her silence following the alleged incident which occurred earlier this month when she was speaking at the New Jersey Parent Summit in New Brunswick. Charlie Kratovil, editor of New Brunswick Today, was at the Heldrich Hotel for the event to which he was invited when he was approached by Ryan’s bodyguard and told to stop recording, even though he had been doing so before Ryan took the podium.
Hotel surveillance footage proving April Ryan’s bodyguard violently dragged reporter out of building https://t.co/BAmJ8MDbN0
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 10, 2019
Kratovil noted the irony of being confronted and told to stop recording just after New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne praised Ryan for a “Freedom of the Press” award.
Just as Rep. Payne was praising Ms. Ryan for her recent @rcfp “Freedom of the Press” award, the public relations people started to gather around me at my table, pressuring me to stop recording.
As soon as things started going south, I began recording audio of our conversation.
— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) August 5, 2019
Kratovil alleged that the bodyguard, Joel Morris, took his camera away and physically assaulted him as he attempted to remove him from the hotel lobby. The reporter could be heard in surveillance video yelling, “Don’t touch my camera, please. Don’t touch my camera, please. Put that down. Don’t you dare. Put that down, sir. That’s my camera.”
His arm and shoulder were injured in the altercation, Kratovil explained on Twitter.
I screamed and used some profane language towards Mr. Morris as he grabbed my left arm and twisted it behind my back, injuring my forearm and shoulder.
I later gave a statement to NBPD’s Ryan Daughton & he told me that he’d prepare a police report.
I intend to press charges.
— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) August 5, 2019
The reporter did press charges, accusing Morris of harassment, assault and of stealing his camera. The 30-year-old bodyguard will be arraigned on Sept. 12.
CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED: April Ryan’s “security guard” will be arraigned 9/12 in Superior Court on charges of harassment, assault, and theft by unlawful taking. pic.twitter.com/yEPzgteD3r
— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) August 19, 2019
But all through the media reports and the charges being filed, Ryan remained silent.
After @AprilDRyan said her public speech could not be recorded by a local journalist, her body guard stole the journalist’s camera and assaulted him.
Ryan is refusing to comment and so is CNN.
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) August 23, 2019
Even liberal media critics were blasting CNN and Ryan for the conspicuous silence on the incident.
“Speak now or relinquish your standing as First Amendment champions,” Erik Wemple, The Washington Post‘s media critic, wrote in an opinion piece published Thursday titled, “Speak up, April Ryan. Speak up, CNN.”
Ryan “has distinguished herself as a vociferous and resilient advocate for press freedom,” Wemple wrote, citing her past grandstanding on President Trump’s contentious run-ins with the press and how Ryan’s confrontational encounters with the administration caused her to hire bodyguards due to alleged death threats.
“It’s one thing to hire a bodyguard to protect a freedom-of-press advocate from death threats; it’s another thing when the bodyguard undermines freedom of press on behalf of the freedom-of-press advocate,” Wemple argued. “Though Ryan is happy to light up CNN’s airwaves with outrage over the Trump administration’s heavy-handed actions vis-a-vis press access, what does she have to say when her own actions are in the mix?”
Wemple’s request for a comment from Ryan resulted in a call back asking to speak off the record.
“No thanks, we replied. Nothing that occurs at the fourth annual New Jersey Parent Summit is so secret, so sensitive as to warrant an off-the-record conversation,” the media watchdog wrote, adding that CNN representatives also did not respond.
“The strategy here is to ignore the situation in the hopes that it will blow over,” Wemple wrote in the op-ed just before Ryan posted her video. “Such an outcome shouldn’t be furnished to CNN and Ryan, given the level of professional hypocrisy at hand.”
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