American Urban Radio Networks reporter and CNN political contributor April Ryan has for months had a highly adversarial relationship with the Trump White House. She has received press awards and has even written a book about it.
Imagine everyone’s surprise when Ryan was involved in a controversial incident that centered around her bodyguard kicking a fellow journalist out of an event where she was the keynote speaker.
Editor Charlie Kratovil was covering the fourth annual New Jersey Parent Summit on Aug. 3 for New Brunswick Today, a small local newspaper. He said he had permission from a public affairs group to cover it and had been doing so for hours without issue before Ryan was introduced to the crowd.
Most of what he described in a lengthy Twitter thread as happening to him next is captured on audio and/or video.
Kratovil was approached by Joel Morris, Ryan’s bodyguard. Ryan told CNN in a recent interview that she has extra security on hand because she’s allegedly faced death threats over her criticisms of President Trump.
According to Kratovil, Morris approached him to find out who he was. Kratovil says he gave Morris his business card and told him he had “followed the proper channels” in order to be able to cover the event.
That wasn’t good enough for Morris, however. In the next few minutes, Kratovil was surrounded by Morris and a PR team. They demanded he stop recording Ryan.
As they left the room to discuss the incident, Morris returned to speak to Ryan, which is on video. Ryan is seen briefly nodding and pausing awkwardly for 30 seconds as Morris went to move and later unplug Kratovil’s video camera.
Ryan can be heard during the course of her bodyguard moving the camera saying, “When I speak, I don’t have news covering my speech.” Clearly, she knew a fellow journalist was being thrown out of an event in which she was speaking and was unfazed at the thought.
Hotel video then shows Morris still in possession of Kratovil’s video equipment in the lobby moments later. Morris is seen aggressively intimidating the journalist while event organizer Shennell McCloud berates Kratovil for having the audacity to attend the speech. “How dare you?” she’s heard yelling.
Morris then physically shoves Kratovil out of the hotel lobby as others, including hotel staff, look on in shock.
Ryan, who received a “Freedom of the Press” award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press back in May, waited over three weeks before commenting on the incident. She says it was due to lawsuit threats.
She told CNN Sunday she did not order Kratovil’s removal, nor did she see what was happening or hear what was said because she was on stage. At the same time, she stated that other journalists who want to cover her speeches have to get her permission before covering them so she isn’t taken out of context.
Having her “words twisted” leads to threats to her safety, she claimed in the interview. Her bodyguard was simply doing his job, according to her.
Contrary to her stated claim that she did not “order” for anyone to be removed, presumably she’s OK with having journalists who allegedly don’t seek her permission to cover her events escorted from the premises — on safety grounds.
Morris now faces assault charges and is no longer Ryan’s bodyguard. But not because of what he did to Kratovil. Instead, he was relieved because he left her side during the incident, which per Ryan is “not protocol.”
I guess she expected someone else to handle the dirty work of throwing out a credentialed journalist on her behalf because they did not seek “permission” from her personally or something.
Stacey Matthews is a veteran blogger who has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to Red State and Legal Insurrection.