Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night was interviewing the founder of a New York City-based vigilante group known for its targeting of migrants when a disturbance suddenly broke out behind the live shot.
As the camera panned around at Times Square, a group of men in red jackets were seen physically engaging with a person, eventually tackling the individual to the ground as he struggled and the group attempted to restrain him.
“Well, in fact our guys have just taken down one of the migrant guys right here on the corner of 42nd and 7th while all this has taken place,” Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels group and a former GOP mayoral nominee, told Hannity. “They’ve taken over!”
As the disturbing altercation played out on national television, Hannity blasted Democrats “for the surge of Joe Biden’s unvetted illegals in New York. And that could be because the so-called border czar is a little distracted right now,” alluding to Vice President Kamala Harris.
Moments later, after the situation had calmed down, Hannity returned to the scene where the shocking altercation had taken place, asking Sliwa for more information on what had just happened.
“What was happening in front of you while you were on the air with us?” Hannity asked.
“He had been shoplifting first,” Sliwa replied. “The Guardian Angels spotted him, stopped him and he resisted. Let’s just say we gave him a little pain compliance. His mother back in Venezuela felt the vibrations. He is sucking concrete.”
Sliwa, who has in the past fabricated stories of criminal behavior — by his own admission — to sensationalize the issue, continued on, blaming the altercation on the groups of migrants being bussed to the city from border states.
“We’ve got to take 42nd Street back,” he said. “These illegals think they own this state and rule the night. This is our country. If they can’t abide by the rules than we will kick them back from where they came.”
As he spoke, a Fox News banner blared, “MAN ARRESTED IN TIMES SQUARE AFTER GUARDIAN ANGELS APPREHEND HIM”
But the person tackled by the group was neither a migrant nor arrested for shoplifting as Sliwa had claimed, New York Police Department officials confirmed to CNN.
“On Tuesday February 6 at 21:33 police responded to a 911 call for a ‘disorderly male,’” police said in a statement. “Upon arrival officers were informed that the male had repeatedly attempted to interfere with and disrupt a live interview. The male was issued a summons for disorderly conduct.”
A law enforcement official told CNN’s Mark Morales the man was not a recent migrant. Instead, he was a 23-year-old from the Bronx who moved to the US when he was 10 years old. The man had attempted to get Sliwa’s attention while he was on the air Tuesday night, when the group confronted him, the official said.
The Guardian Angels is a New York City based volunteer organization whose stated goal is to prevent crime. The group was founded by Sliwa- a conservative talk show host and former Republican mayoral candidate- in the late 1970’s, but in recent months has taken aim at migrants being bussed to the city. Last summer, Sliwa was arrested while protesting migrant housing in the city and called for them to be sent to the notorious Rikers Island jail.
The Guardian Angels and Sliwa did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Fox News also did not comment on the report, but the scene was illustrative of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has frequently been promoted on the right-wing network’s air.
Last month, Fox News host Pete Hegseth, from a Manhattan studio, compared the atmosphere in New York to after the nation’s worst terror attack.
“Sometimes I walk through public areas, I walk through differently now. It’s kind of like after 9/11,” he said.