We’ve been learning a lot about what happens behind the scenes at Fox News, and now we have a new fact to ponder during commercial breaks: Sometimes when the cameras stop rolling, co-workers whip out firearms.
This is not in dispute, but a new feud has broken out between CNN and Fox News over how Sean Hannity showed off his gun to Fox News analyst Juan Williams. CNN’s Dylan Byers reported on Thursday that the host aimed the gun at his guest back in October:
Last year, after ending one of his many spirited on-air arguments with liberal contributor Juan Williams, Hannity pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at Williams, according to three sources with knowledge of the incident. He even turned on the laser sight, causing a red dot to bob around on Williams’s body. (Hannity was just showing off, the sources said, but the unforeseen off-camera antic clearly disturbed Williams and others on set.)
Byers said Hannity’s colleagues were so disturbed that they reported the incident to network executives. They said it went to Fox News co-president Bill Shine, a longtime friend of Hannity’s, and nothing came of it.
Fox News had a very different version of events. A spokesperson said the legal and human-resources departments looked into the incident but determined it was no big deal.
“Sean Hannity has been trained in firearm safety since he was 11 years old and has a license to carry a gun in five states, including New York,” the network said in a statement. “The situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger.”
The network also released statements from Hannity and Williams. “While discussing the issue of firearms, I showed my good friend Juan Williams my unloaded firearm in a professional and safe manner for educational purposes only,” Hannity’s statement read. “Every precautionary procedure that I have been trained in since the age of 11 was followed. I’ve had a concealed carry permit in five states for all of my adult life. Any other interpretation of this is outright false reporting.”
“This incident is being sensationalized — everything was under total control throughout and I never felt like I was put in harm’s way,” Williams’s statement read. “It was clear that Sean put my safety and security above all else and we continue to be great friends.”
Byers’s larger argument was that Hannity loves a good fight, but so far Hannity has refrained from proving his point. He did call Byers a “fake news hack,” but considering that he frequently calls critics “jackass” on Twitter, he was fairly subdued:
Hopefully the fight between Trump’s favorite anchor and his most hated network won’t distract the president from whatever Twitter feud he was planning to start this weekend.