State College

Man who says he’s from State College threatens to shoot CNN hosts on air

Brian Stelter addressed on CNN Sunday a threat made against him and fellow reporter Don Lemon made by a caller identified as “Don from State College, Pa.” on C-SPAN on Friday.
Brian Stelter addressed on CNN Sunday a threat made against him and fellow reporter Don Lemon made by a caller identified as “Don from State College, Pa.” on C-SPAN on Friday. Screenshot provided

A man, who identified himself only as “Don from State College, Pa.,” called into C-SPAN Friday and threatened to shoot CNN reporters Brian Stelter and Don Lemon.

“It all started when (President Donald) Trump got elected,” the caller told “Washington Journal” host Greta Brawner. “Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump supporters ‘all racists.’ They don’t even know us. They don’t even know these Americans out here and they are calling us racists because we voted for Trump? Come on. Give me a break.

“They started the war. If I see them, I’m going to shoot them. Bye.”

State College police said they were not aware of the incident, and not currently investigating.

Stelter addressed the situation on CNN on Sunday, saying neither he nor Lemon had ever called Trump supporters “all racists.” Though Stelter said Fox News’ Sean Hannity played a two-year-old clip of Stelter asking if racial anxiety was a factor in Trump’s rise.

“I don’t know if the C-Span caller watched Hannity, I’m not blaming Hannity, I just thought the timing was odd,” he said.

The segment the caller called into on Friday was a discussion on whether Trump’s repeated attacks on the media, and calling them “the enemy of the people,” are warranted.

Trump, who has adopted a hostile stance toward the media since the 2016 election, has recently ramped up his attacks, tweeting Sunday that he’s doing the public a service by pointing out that the press is the enemy of the people.

“The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!” he said.

The president also directly insulted Lemon on Twitter on Friday, in regard to an interview he conducted with LeBron James about his contributions to his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and the public school he set up there for at-risk youth.

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do,” he said.

The president’s attacks against the media have come under increased scrutiny after the deadly attack against reporters in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Maryland, in which five people were killed.

“I’m not asking for sympathy,” Stelter said on air Sunday. “I don’t think I’m in extreme danger. I know some of my colleagues get much worse threats than I do. CNN has a great security team and we know how to handle this stuff.”

Brawner did not acknowledge the caller’s threats on air, because she did not hear his remarks, C-SPAN’s communications director Howard Mortman told the Huffington Post in an email.

When a caller makes ad hominem attacks or uses indecent language or obviously racist language, program hosts are certainly permitted to step in,” according to C-SPAN’s website. “Given that this involves quick judgment during a live television production, it’s an imperfect process.”

Reporter Bret Pallotto contributed to this story.

Read Next