Fox News host Sean Hannity once pulled out a gun on the set of his show last year, and aimed it at political analyst Juan Williams following an on-air debate, CNN’s Dylan Byers reported on Thursday night.
“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,” Byers wrote. “He even turned on the laser sight, causing a red dot to bob around on Williams’ body.”
Williams, who serves as an analyst for Fox News, immediately responded on Twitter, downplaying the incident: “This incident is being sensationalized – everything was under total control throughout and I never felt like I was put in harm’s way… It was clear that Sean put my safety and security above all else and we continue to be great friends.”
Byers tweeted back that he stands by “Every word” of his reporting.
Hannity entered the fray shortly after to lash out at CNN, which he dubbed “fake news” — calling Byers a “fake news back.” The Fox News host claims he “Never pointed at anybody” and that the gun he brought on set was “Unloaded.” “I have been a gun safety advocate for years,” he Tweeted.
“Laser sights have an inconvenient way of letting witnesses know exactly where it was pointed,” Byers responded, standing by his report.
Byers’ story notes that his sources said “Hannity was just showing off” — but claims “unforeseen off-camera antic clearly disturbed Williams and others on set.”
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed a version of the story to CNN, while providing statements from both Hannity and Williams that downplayed the incident. The statement by Williams is buried nine paragraphs into Byers’ story.
It’s important to remember that CNN and Fox News are bitter rivals, and Hannity has personally attacked Byers’ CNN Money colleague Brian Stelter on numerous occasions. Stelter even trolled Hannity on Thursday night in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter by including a tip on gun safety: “ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. This is the primary rule of gun safety.”
“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 said in a statement provided to CNN. “Every precautionary procedure that I have been trained in since the age of 11 was followed. I’ve had a conceal carry permit in five states for all of my adult life. Any other interpretation of this is outright false reporting.”
A Fox News spokesperson told CNN the “the situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger.”