The White House correspondent for a far-right blog accused a Fox News Radio reporter of assaulting him before Friday’s press briefing, a charge both a Fox News representative and the reporter flatly denied.
Lucian Wintrich, a writer for the blog Gateway Pundit, said on Twitter that Jon Decker, a White House correspondent for Fox News Radio, grabbed his arm “while shouting” he’s “a Nazi.”
“He came out of nowhere and cornered me in the back room, not letting me pass,” Wintrich said. “He’s a truly sick guy. Fox needs to address behavior like this in their staff.”
Wintrich tweeted several photos, one of which appeared to show Decker in close proximity to him:
— Lucian B. Wintrich (@lucianwintrich) March 10, 2017
Decker said in a statement provided to Business Insider that he had a “conversation with a representative from the online publication Gateway Pundit” but that at no time did he get physical with him.
“The conversation was straightforward and direct,” he said. “I also informed the full White House pool that this representative was present in the Briefing Room. At no time did I accost or assault this individual. More than a dozen witnesses will attest to this fact.”
A Fox News representative also denied the assault allegations to Business Insider and said that Decker, a lawyer, was upset with some of Wintrich’s previous tweets and sought only to notify other members of the press corps that the Gateway Pundit writer was attending the daily briefing.
Wintrich disputed Decker and Fox News’ version of the story in a phone call to Business Insider, maintaining that Decker did get physical with him. Wintrich also took issue with the characterization of the incident as a “conversation,” saying the Fox reporter was actually just yelling at him.
“Every sentence of his release is easily disputed by a dozen journalists,” Wintrich said, mocking Decker’s statement.
Adrian Carrasquillo, a White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News, said on Twitter that Decker “loudly told everyone in [the] briefing room” that Gateway Pundit was a blog that hates “blacks, Jews, Hispanics.”
“Wild,” Carrasquillo said about the incident.
Wintrich said after the incident he would file “assault and harassment charges” against Decker after the meeting.
Jim Hoft, the editor and publisher of Gateway Pundit, stood by his employee.
“I think we are going to try to press charges or at least report the incident,” Hoft said in a short phone call. “What he did was totally uncalled for.”
Hoft said in a follow-up email that charges had not yet been filed but that he had contacted the White House about the incident. A White House representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Gateway Pundit is a far-right blog notorious for peddling misinformation under the banner of inflammatory headlines and was only recently granted White House press credentials. On Thursday night, for instance, the website drew scorn for suggesting former President Barack Obama was not born in the US but in Kenya – a debunked conspiracy theory to which even President Donald Trump has said he no longer subscribes.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comment from Wintrich.