CNN commentator April Ryan insisted Sunday she had nothing to do with one of her security guards removing a local journalist from an Aug. 3 event in New Jersey despite a video that shows she appeared to know what was taking place when journalist Charlie Kratovil was hauled out by security guard Joel Morris.
Although Kratovil has described this as a violation of his First Amendment rights, Ryan said Morris was right to remove Kratovil, editor of New Brunswick Today, because her agreement with the group to which she was speaking required journalists to get permission before filming her.
Ryan had not spoken about the incident — which led to an assault charge filed against Morris, who was later fired — until Sunday, when she appeared on the CNN show “Reliable Sources.”
“I am the first person who wants to get a story out, be it on TV or radio, and the only reason why I’ve been quiet is because of the threat of lawsuits. … But here’s the thing: This is not about suppressing the press. My body of work stands for me,” she said.
Host Brian Stelter asked Ryan if she ordered Morris to remove Kratovil.
“No,” she replied.
“I did not order anyone to do anything,” she said.
When Stelter cited a YouTube video that showed Ryan interacting with Morris prior to the altercation with Kratovil, Ryan had an explanation handy.
“At that moment, what you saw was my then-bodyguard, who was concerned with my safety, come to me and say, ‘Stop talking.’ They were about 100 feet away from me,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on or what was being said.”
However, the video that Kratovil was taking recorded her as saying, “When I speak, I don’t have cameras covering my speeches,” until the noise of Morris taking away the camera obscured everything else.
Ryan put the blame for the incident on Kratovil for filming without consent.
“Well, you know, this was a private event for a nonprofit organization in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Our contract stated that if someone wanted to come and film or if they wanted to interview me, they had to ask for permission. There was no request for permission and permission was not granted. Now, if they would have asked for permission, it would have been granted. And the reason why I do this, one, it’s standard in the industry, and two, because I don’t want my words twisted,” she said.
She said Morris might have done the wrong thing, but in light of death threats she claims to have received, it was understandable.
“I believe in my humble opinion — or I assume — that he was concerned about my safety,” Ryan said.
Kratovil, who has said he received permission to film at the event, said Ryan’s comments failed the sniff test.
“I don’t think the things she said ring true about her role,” he told CNN, according to the New York Post. “She couldn’t own up to it.”
“For whatever reason, she’s not going to accept responsibility,” Kratovil said. “It is very disappointing.”
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