Fox News star Sean Hannity addressed on Thursday the vigilante-style gang beating that occurred live on his broadcast earlier in the week, acknowledging that Curtis Sliwa was wrong to claim the man his group attacked was a “migrant” shoplifter.
“On this show, we always want to set the record straight,” the conservative host declared at the end of his show.
During his interview with Hannity on Tuesday night, which revolved around them raging about immigrants and crime in New York City, Sliwa—who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2021—railed against New York Mayor Eric Adams for supposedly taking care of “illegal aliens” while forsaking “his own people.” Hannity, meanwhile, said that Adams’ “disastrous illegal immigration policies” were “wreaking havoc all over New York City.”
Sliwa, the leader of the “volunteer safety patrol group” Guardian Angels, was speaking to Hannity from Times Square, where a group of migrants brawled with NYPD officers a week ago, sparking public outrage. The interview was soon disrupted when members of the Guardian Angels began scuffling with a man off-screen, prompting Sliwa to claim that they’d accosted “one of the migrant guys” who had been shoplifting. “They’ve taken over!” Sliwa exclaimed.
After showing the group roughing up the unnamed man, Hannity moved on to another story before welcoming Sliwa back to explain what happened.
“Well, he had been shoplifting first. The Guardian Angels spotted him and stopped him. He resisted. And let’s just say, we gave him a little pain compliance,” Sliwa proclaimed while Hannity laughed. “His mother back in Venezuela felt the vibrations. He’s sucking concrete. The cops scraped him off the asphalt.”
However, according to the New York Police Department, almost nothing Sliwa said was true (The Guardian Angels founder has a history of making up stories.) The man in question is a longtime New York resident who lives in the Bronx, police said. Additionally, he had not been shoplifting, though he was issued a disorderly conduct summons by police for heckling the Guardian Angels during the live Fox News broadcast.
After ignoring the new facts about the beatdown on Wednesday, Hannity addressed the matter at the tail-end of his show on Thursday night.
“Before we go tonight, I want to talk about Curtis Sliwa’s appearance on this show on Tuesday night, when members of the Guardian Angels stopped a man, and the police were called,” the host said. “Now, Curtis said the man was a migrant and that he was shoplifting. Fox News has since spoken to the NYPD. Apparently, the statements made by Curtis that the man is a migrant is not true. And the man was given a summons for disorderly conduct.”
Hannity continued: “Today, Curtis Sliwa acknowledged to The Washington Post that the man has not been charged with shoplifting. And Curtis said in part, ‘I shouldn’t have been listening to the crowd. That was my mistake. I should not have had that knee-jerk reaction.' Again, on this show, we always want to set the record straight.”
Meanwhile, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump noted in his analysis of the entire saga, “right-wing rhetoric” from Fox News was largely why a man from the Bronx was beaten up in the first place by an anti-immigrant vigilante group.
“That Fox News carried the scuffle live was a function of a number of bad decisions, certainly,” Bump wrote. “But all of them were downstream from the same point of origin: wanting to cast New York City, once again, as collapsing metropolis overrun by criminal immigrants.”