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Activist arrested at PBS annual meeting for protesting Koch brother’s ties to Boston affiliate

By Travis Gettys
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 8:49 EDT
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Brant Olson
 
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A climate change activist was handcuffed and arrested at the PBS annual meeting after calling for the ouster of billionaire David Koch from the board of a Boston public TV station.

Brant Olson, campaign director for Forecast the Facts, stepped to a microphone Tuesday morning after a panel discussion on a Vietnam War documentary to lodge his protest, reported Current.

The activist group protests Koch’s board membership due to his support for organizations and candidates that deny climate change.

The microphone was quickly cut off, and Olson waved a small sign with his group’s logo as he left the stage.

A PBS employee escorted Olson out of the meeting room at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis and hotel security stopped him as he approached the doors.

The public broadcasting staffer asked Current to stop photographing as Olson was put against a wall and handcuffed.

He was then led out of the hotel by security guards.

Olson told Current he was arrested and cited for trespassing before he was released by San Francisco police.

“WGBH, it appears, would rather have its critics arrested than defend David Koch’s misinformation campaign on climate change,” Olson said.

PBS released a statement calling the incident “extremely unfortunate” but said the matter was handled according to hotel policy.

The conservative philanthropist Koch has contributed more than $23 million to public television and began serving in 1997 as a trustee of PBS member station WGBH in Boston.

He served on the board of New York’s WNET from 2006 until 2013.

Watch this video about the group’s protest posted online by Forecast the Facts:

 
 
 
 
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