Fox News reporters witnessed Gianforte grab reporter by neck, slam him to the ground
© Getty Images

Three Fox News reporters said late Wednesday that they witnessed GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte body slam The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs earlier in the evening, confirming Jacobs's account of the incident.

"Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of 'I'm sick and tired of this!'" Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna said Wednesday recounting the incident.

"To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff's deputies," Acuna continued. "As for myself and my crew, we are cooperating with local authorities. It is not clear if charges will be filed against Gianforte at this time."

The three Fox News reporters and a BuzzFeed News reporter have now all corroborated Jacob's account of the story.

ADVERTISEMENT

Shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jacobs tweeted that he had been "body slammed" by Gianforte and that his glasses had been broken during the incident. The Guardian posted audio of the exchange between Jacobs and Gianforte, which appeared to back up the reporter’s account.

Gianforte is running against Democrat Rob Quist to fill the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke when he became head of the Interior Department. The reporter's claims come a day before the election. 

A spokesman for Gianforte sent a statement that offered a different telling of events, saying that Jacobs "entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face and began asking badgering questions."

"Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ," the statement said.

House Democrats quickly seized on the incident, calling on Gianforte to resign and for Republican groups to condemn the allegations.

“Greg Gianforte must immediately withdraw his candidacy after his alleged violent assault of an innocent journalist,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement.