Fox News contributor and conservative comedian Steven Crowder claims he was assaulted by pro-union protesters amid a protest in Lansing, Michigan.
In an interview with radio show host Dana Loesch, Crowder said the protesters "literally would have killed me where I stood if I defended myself." He claimed the protesters gave him a "beat down" and threatened to shoot him with a gun. Crowder later uploaded video to YouTube to back up his allegations.
On his YouTube page, Crowder often interviews unsuspecting liberals and pokes fun at their inconsistencies. His most recent video mocked supporters of marijuana legalization.
Crowder, a celibacy advocate who caught attention earlier this year for stealing candy from children to prove a point about Obama's policies, was apparently trying to obtain similar footage of union workers talking about the so-called right-to-work legislation being pushed through the Michigan legislature by Republicans. However, at some point the comedian tried to prevent the tent of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a conservative group, from being taken down.
Crowder's video does not show how the confrontation between himself and the protester began. The protester took at least three full swings at Crowder, who reacted by briefly grappling with the protester and then backing off with his hands raised up. Crowder said on Twitter that additional footage of the incident would be aired during Fox News' Hannity.
Video of Crowder being attacked and AFP's tent being torn down have been widely circulated among conservatives, who claim it highlights violent "union thuggery."
"While of course we do not condone the actions taken by a small group of people, the disciples of James O’Keefe were attempting to instigate the crowd all day," Eddie Vale, spokesperson for the AFL-CIO, told Talking Points Memo regarding the destruction of AFP's tent. "As soon as the incident happened our marshals worked with the police to move the AFP people through the crowd to safety with no injuries."
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include more background information on Crowder.]
UPDATE 12/13/2012: Footage aired on Sean Hannity's program and published by Salon shows the moments before the protester hit Crowder, as the protester is pushed to the ground by someone not shown on camera and only then rises to hit Crowder.