MSNBC host Chris Jansing was confronted about her network’s coverage of antisemitism–so she tried to grab a podcaster’s cellphone out of his hand, a viral video on Twitter shows.
”I asked [MSNBC’s Chris Jansing] why the network chose not to cover an antisemitic attack at Sanders rally even though I texted the info to producer Daniel Arnall,” Jack Allison said in a post accompanying the video. “She said she doesn’t make those decisions, then tried to steal my phone and MSNBC security put me in a headlock.”
Law&Crime can confirm that Allison has filed an assault-and-battery police report and said that he wants to press charges against Jansing and the MSNBC security guards involved in the incident. Wayne State University Police said they are aware of the incident and confirmed that the police report was filed. The report won’t be available until Wednesday, however. The case will be handled by the Detroit Police Department.
Allison confirmed he plans to give a testimonial statement to the police at a precinct, which is required for the case to move forward. He also said he plans to “pursue pressing charges.”
Allison, a Sanders supporter, is a screenwriter and comedian who co-hosts the Struggle Session podcast. He recently attracted a spate of media attention for his long-running feud with Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che and previously wrote for Jimmy Kimmel Live.
On Tuesday afternoon, Allison confronted Jansing about the paucity of coverage on MSNBC about an antisemitic attack at a recent rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
At a rally in Arizona late last week, a white supremacist unfurled a Nazi swastika banner while Sanders was speaking. He was quickly kicked out of the venue and Sanders rallied his supporters to dismiss the man and the hate symbol–later telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that the swastika incident was “unspeakable, disgusting.”
The antisemitic attack was widely covered on the internet and most cable news networks–aside from MSNBC. The liberal network was roundly criticized over the apparent black-out before host Chris Hayes mentioned the incident on All In with Chris Hayes. Host Joy Reid also mentioned the swastika banner unfurling in passing on AM Joy two days later.
Allison recently catalogued his efforts to have MSNBC devote significant time to the incident in a series of tweets. On Tuesday, he re-upped those efforts by asking Jansing about the editorial decision process that kept the network from including the antisemitic attack in its recent narrative series of presidential candidate harassment.
I asked @MSNBC’s @ChrisJansing why the network chose not to cover an antisemitic attack at Sanders rally even though I texted the info to producer @DanielArnall. She said she doesn’t make those decisions, then tried to steal my phone and MSNBC security put me in a headlock pic.twitter.com/oaO2COkIpX
— jack allison (@jackallisonLOL) March 10, 2020
“Hi, can I ask you a question: why did your network not find it newsworthy to report on an antisemitic attack at the Jewish candidate’s rally on Friday?” Allison asks in the video.
“I don’t make those those decisions, so I can’t answer for them,” Jansing replies.
”So, who makes those decisions?” Allison continues. “Because I texted producer Daniel Arnall personally and told him about this information.”
Allison then goes on to note that it’s “not credible” for MSNBC to now claim “that no one in the building” knew about the incident.
“So, I want to know why the network made that decision?” Allison asks again.
”I don’t know,” Jansing repeatedly insists. “I don’t know.”
The two then go back and forth a bit. Allison attempts to clarify who makes the decisions about what is newsworthy at MSNBC and notes that cable news networks have the ability to “craft narrative”–which elicits a strong negative response from Jansing.
The MSNBC host becomes visibly angry at this point and then accuses Allison of harassment before an altercation occurs. The video gets hectic for a few moments as Allison is apparently placed into a headlock. Jansing then clearly attempts to grab Allison’s phone and makes apparently unwanted contact with his body.
Allison described the incident to Law&Crime in an interview:
I went to the Detroit Institute of Art and went into a room open to the public (with the gorgeous Diego Rivera murals). I approached MSNBC anchor Chris Jansing to ask about their network’s near-total refusal to cover Thursday’s antisemitic attack at a Bernie Sanders rally. After telling me she doesn’t make those decisions, she became agitated and suddenly tried to steal my phone out of my hand. I was put into a headlock by, I believe, two MSNBC security guards as Jansing shouted about not filming her without her permission and continued to grip my phone with all her might. I was able to regain control of my phone, and duck out of the headlock, and was walked out by Eric Drewry, a director at the museum. I went back to my hotel to collect myself, and then went back to the museum to get the information of the people who assaulted me. Drewry attempted to get them to speak to me person-to-person, and they refused. I was forced to file a police report, which I did, against Chris Jansing and the MSNBC security guards.
“I’m told by the museum that they have security camera footage that they will be able to show the police,” he continued. “They will not show the footage to either myself or MSNBC.”
Law&Crime reached out to MSNBC for comment and clarification on this story ahead of publishing. MSNBC declined to comment, but we will update this story if the network offers a response.
[image via Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for USO Metropolitan New York]