Friday, April 04, 2008

Massey Energy chief threatens to shoot ABC journo

"Massey Energy Co.’s chief executive threatened to shoot an ABC News producer and tore his shirt collar when the newsman made an unannounced attempt to interview him in a parking lot at his office in Belfry, Ky., a network spokesman said Thursday. But CEO Don Blankenship (above, in ABC image) said the scuffle happened after the producer put a camera too close to his face," writes Tim Huber of The Associated Press.

ABC said Blankenship told producer Asa Eslocker, “If you’re going to start taking pictures of me, you’re liable to get shot.” Network spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said Blankenship grabbed Eslocker's camera "and snapped off a microphone before putting his hands to the man’s throat and tearing his shirt collar," Huber writes.

"Blankenship said Eslocker grabbed his arm and he grabbed the producer’s chest to keep his balance. Blankenship said he moved Eslocker toward his car and repeatedly asked him to leave. ... Blankenship said he would have reacted differently had he known Eslocker was a newsman. ... Schneider said the producer attempted the parking lot interview after unsuccessful attempts to arrange a face to face meeting. " Asked if he threatened to shoot Eslocker, Blankenship said, "I probably did." (Read more)

ABC said it plans to air a report Monday about Blankenship's relations with the West Virginia Supreme Court, which ruled in Massey's favor yesterday in a $76 million contract dispute. In the 3-2 vote, the justice Blankenship elected with a multimillion-dollar campaign in 2004 voted with him, notes Paul Nyden of The Charleston Gazette. For ABC's story on the incident, click here. For its slideshow of the encounter, click here.

No comments: