On Friday’s Your World program, Fox News Channel’s interviewed Kenneth Gladney, the victim of an assault outside a health care town hall meeting in St. Louis on August 6, along with his lawyer David Brown. A video of the immediate aftermath of the attack (posted earlier on NewsBusters by Seton Motley) showed some of the suspects wearing t-shirts bearing the logo of the SEIU union, which is a member organization of Health Care for America Now!, a left-wing coalition pushing for the passage of ObamaCare [video clips from the segment are available here; audio clips are found here].
Mr. Gladney stated that he arrived outside the building where the town hall meeting was taking place, and started distributing and/or selling flags which bear the famous slogan “Don’t Tread on Me.” He continued that “this guy...walked up to me and said...who in the blank is selling this blank here. And I said, sir, this is my merchandise, and....he was like, what kind of ‘N’ are you to be giving out this kind of stuff here? And he snatched the- the button board. And when he snatched the button board, I snatched it back from him, and that’s when he proceeded to hit me in my face.” He added that others joined in the beat-down.
Cavuto then turned to Mr. Brown and asked him to describe why he thought the SEIU was involved: “I know that SEIU is affiliated with HCAN [Health Care for America Now!], which is a Democratic organization, so to speak...that is promoting the ObamaCare. I think that the SEIU...is hiding behind the HCAN. I think that...possibly, these SEIU members were working at the behest of some other Democratic organizations, either to start trouble or to intimidate people from expressing free speech.”
After asking what kind of legal action that the two gentlemen would be pursuing, and bringing up the possible race factor in the incident, the Fox News anchor asked Gladney, “Now, you’ve heard charges by many about many of these health care forms, that they’re setups- that guys like you...are plants. In other words, that you’ve been put up to it. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you, Ken, but did anyone...put you up to being there...or try to get you to instigate anything there?”
The victim revealed that he was just there to earn some money and to be part of the process: “No one put me up to this. This was of my own free will there to just try to make...I’m unemployed, for one, and I was just there trying to...make an honest dollar and try to learn something about...these type of gatherings...I just don’t think anyone should have to go through what I went through- at all.”
The full transcript of the interview, which led the 4 pm Eastern hour of Friday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto:
NEIL CAVUTO: Well, from pushing and shoving, to reports now of intimidation, town hall tempers are flaring, and now unions are mobilizing. In Missouri, protesters claimed that union members were being led into [the] town hall as they were locked out.
My next guest says he got roughed up outside that meeting. Kenneth Gladney says that he was attacked while passing out ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags. He’s joined by his attorney, David Brown. Gentlemen, welcome to both of you. Ken- first of all, to you- how are you doing right now?
KENNETH GLADNEY: I’m in- I’m in some pain, but I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m still kind of shaken up, and- just kind of upset about the whole thing.
CAVUTO: All right- Ken, can you tell me what happened?
GLADNEY Well, let’s see. Let’s start from the beginning- about- about 8:30- 8:45, we were- I was setting up actually to pass out the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flags. A priest’s wife- she walked up to me and I was kind of showing her some of the merchandise that we had- that I had there at the time. And this guy- he walked up to me and said, who in the- you know, who in the blank is selling this blank here. And I said, sir, this is my merchandise, and- you know, would you like a flag or something like that? And he was like, what kind of ‘N’ are you to be giving out this kind of stuff here? And he snatched the- the button board. And when he snatched the button board, I snatched it back from him, and that’s when he proceeded to hit me in my face. After that, another member of his organization ran up, and he starts hitting me in my face as well. I fell to the floor. And another guy from the organization- a tall guy- a Caucasian- he began to grab me by my collar- by my neck, and he hit me in my face on the left side and knocked me back to the floor. And that’s when a woman started kicking me in the back of my head and in my back-
CAVUTO: Now, these guys from this organization- what organization was it? Who were they? Do you know anything about them?
GLADNEY: To tell you the truth, I don’t know anything about them. All I know is they belong to some type of a union of- of some sort. I was just there to- you know, to do a job. I wasn’t there to- you know, join in or to have an opinion on anything that was going on, for that matter, and- you know, I didn’t say anything to these- to these people. They just started attacking me.
CAVUTO: Yeah. Well, David Brown- you’re his attorney. They were wearing t-shirts, we’re told, from the SEIU [Service Employees International Union], and- we went to their website that say [sic], ‘We must fight back against lies and fear-mongering to drown out the opposition and send a message that health care reform must happen this year.’ What do you know about the SEIU yourself, David, and what do you know about what they were doing outside the town hall to just stir things up, if they were?
DAVID BROWN: Well, I know that SEIU is affiliated with HCAN [Health Care for America Now!], which is a Democratic organization, so to speak, that- that is promoting the ObamaCare. I think that the SEIU is- is hiding behind the HCAN. I think that they- possibly, these SEIU members were working at the behest of some other Democratic organizations, either to start trouble or to intimidate people from expressing free speech-
CAVUTO: Okay- now, let me ask your attorney there, Kenneth. David, you’re there with him- those are pretty serious charges, or certainly, insinuations that- that SEIU or others would deliberately try to stop what Ken was trying to do. We’ve heard other reports of this, but I just want to make sure we’re being accurate here. The SEIU is saying nothing of the sort, but they would try to stop what they considered to be false information from getting out. So on a legal grounds here, David, what are you going to do?
BROWN: Well, we’re pursuing legal action against the individuals in their individual capacity, as well as- we’re pursuing a lawsuit against the- the SEIU and possibly some other entities. But at this time, those are our two main courses of action.
CAVUTO: When you say you’re taking legal action, against how many individuals?
BROWN: It would be three, possibly the fourth individual- the female. But-
CAVUTO: In other words, the people who beat Ken up, right?
BROWN: Correct, and the ones that beat him up and slurred racial epithets to him. It’s- basically amounts to a hate crime.
CAVUTO: Okay. Ken, back to you. Paul Krugman- the economist and columnist at the New York Times, had said of these type of health care forums before your incident popped up, ‘Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a central strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites.’ In other words, when people are getting all worked up at these forums and town hall meetings, that they’re really racially-motivated. What- what do you think of that?
GLADNEY: Well, in all actuality, I don’t think it’s- you know, it really shouldn’t be about any race or anything like that, but- you know, sometimes race is involved, and- you know, that’s a sad case when it is. But- I mean, for someone to actually go in and actually try to perform a duty or a job of- of the caliber that I was doing, which is trying to interact with the people- and to get roughed up in the matter that I was- you know, it’s just totally outrageous- so outrageous.
CAVUTO: Ken, you never even had a chance to even get inside. Did you eventually get inside or were you too banged up? You had to go to the hospital, right?
GLADNEY: No. No, I had to go right to the hospital. I was- I didn’t get a chance to get inside or nothing. They- they actually knocked- broke my glasses off of my face when they started beating me. So I couldn’t see anything-
CAVUTO: They did mention- I’m sory, Ken. They did mention your race.
CAVUTO: And essentially saying that- that, you know, someone of your race shouldn’t be saying the things you’re saying about this health care program?
GLADNEY: Well, I mean- like I said before, I don’t have an opinion at this point about the health care program or anything like that. Right now, I’m just kind of like focusing on- you know, the assault that was- you know, committed upon me at the time.
CAVUTO: All right. So Ken, let me ask you this. Now, you’ve heard charges by many about many of these health care forms, that they’re setups- that guys like you and those who go to them to- to either ask questions or raise issues are plants. In other words, that you’ve been put up to it. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to you, Ken, but did anyone-
GLADNEY: I understand.
CAVUTO: Anyone put you up to being there or- or- or try to get you to instigate anything there?
GLADNEY: No- no, sir. No one put me up to this. This was of my own free will there to just try to make- you know, I was- I’m unemployed, for one, and I was just there trying to- you know, make an honest dollar and try to learn something about- you know, these type of gatherings and things- you know. But- I mean, I just don’t think anyone should have to go through what I went through- at all.
CAVUTO: David- now, do you think, David, from what you’ve seen and heard and what you now know has happened to Ken, that this was part of a wider effort- that the three or four individuals you’re looking at taking legal action against now is actually a bigger group? What can you tell us?
BROWN: Well, I don’t- I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist- it’s a distinct possibility. It’s an avenue that we’ll have to pursue through discovery, and- that will take some time. There’s a lot of questions to be answered. But for me to- to jump the gun here and make a wide, sweeping statement, would be kind of hasty on my part.
CAVUTO: Okay, gentlemen- this is to either of you- were there more than several people wearing these SEIU t-shirts?
BROWN: Well, from what I understand, and from what I observed when I was there, many individuals were harassing people throughout the day. There were several people that- that were wearing the SEIU shirts. There were several individuals that were let in preferentially in a side door when other people who wanted to get in to the gathering were not allowed to- these SEIU people- and there’s video of this going virally on the web now that shows these people that are casually slipping in the door like they know exactly where they’re going and exactly what they’re doing.
CAVUTO: Okay. Finally then, Ken, to you- do you know of anyone else who was hurt or threatened physically or verbally before this event?
GLADNEY: Well, to tell you the truth, no. I- I- I was the only one assaulted. There was a lot of people surrounding me that kind of helped me out that was there. Thank God for them. Thank God for the witnesses that were there and everything, because- like I said, I was totally by myself, just trying to interact with the people, you know, and- I just don’t understand this. It’s- it’s an outrage.
CAVUTO: All right, Ken. I want to thank you. David, I want to thank you, and I think it behooves most folks watching this. Now, I don’t care whether you’re left or right- whether you’re for or against, whatever Ken was trying to get out- the message he was getting out. But- go ahead.
BROWN: Can I inject- can I inject one thing?
BROWN: I don’t know if it bears [inaudible] what’s going to help, maybe- not to make light of this- this might require some whiskey at this point
CAVUTO: Well, it certainly revved up the octane- but Ken and Dave, thank you both very much. Keep us apprized of where this is going- and Ken, get better, okay?
GLADNEY: Okay, thank you- thank you for having me.
BROWN: Thank you, Neil.