In a statement released by attorney Michael Avenatti, a country club patron said he may pursue criminal charges against Tucker Carlson after cellphone video showed the Fox News host appearing to threaten him during a scuffle at the bar.
"You better get the f--- out of here!" Carlson yells repeatedly in the Oct. 13 video as Juan Manuel Granados sits at the Farmington Country Club bar in Charlottesville, Virginia. A moment later, an unidentified man standing with Carlson grabs Granados by his collar and appears to yank him up from his seat, at which point bystanders break up the confrontation.
Carlson has not disputed that the incident took place - and even volunteered that his son threw a glass of wine in Granados' face just before the video began. But the conservative news host denied assaulting Granados and accused him of provoking the scuffle by insulting Carlson's daughter.
"It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do," Carlson wrote in a statement to reporters this weekend, after Avenatti published the video on Twitter.
1/2 - We are investigating an alleged assault on a gay latino immigrant committed by T. Carlson and/or members of his inner circle at a club in VA in Oct. It likely includes underage drinking in violation of VA law. Link to a portion of the incident:https://t.co/QcbCRHrplP- Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) November 10, 2018
In Carlson's version of events, he was having dinner at the club with two of his adult children and some friends on Oct 13.
"Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend," he said in his statement, which Mediaite and other outlets obtained from Fox News. "On their way back through the bar, a middle-aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson."
Upon learning she was the conservative commentator's daughter, Carlson said, "The man responded, 'Are you Tucker's whore?' " and called her a misogynistic slur.
2/2 - We are attempting to locate additional witnesses and to identify those depicted in the video. In particular, we need assistance identifying the balding man that grabs the man seated at the bar. We anticipate charges being filed. Anyone with knowledge, pls contact us.- Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) November 10, 2018
The woman returned to the table crying, according to Carlson. He and his son got up to confront Granados at the bar. "My son threw a glass of red wine in the man's face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did," reads his statement, which did not directly address the scene in the cellphone video.
Avenatti, who is known for representing accusers of President Donald Trump and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, called Carlson's statement "an absolute lie."
He subsequently released contradictory statements from Granados and two unnamed people he said witnessed the altercation.
In his version, Granados was sitting with a group of friends at the bar and noticed that a woman from Carlson's table kept walking back and forth to order drinks.
Last month one of my children was attacked by a stranger at dinner. For her sake, I was hoping to keep the incident private. It's now being politicized by the Left. Here's what happened: pic.twitter.com/rwNoFYxMFv- Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) November 11, 2018
"She was intoxicated," Avenatti said. He said Granados had been drinking, too, and finally told the woman, without realizing she was Carlson's daughter: "I can't believe you're having dinner with him."
Granados immigrated to the United States from Buenos Aires, according to his biography at the Women's Initiative - a mental health provider where he sits on the board of directors. He's also an LGBTQ rights volunteer in Charlottesville - where a protester was killed at a white nationalist rally last year. Granados sued a sports club several years ago when it refused to give him, his partner and their son a family membership, resulting in a policy change after more than 200,000 people signed a petition to support the "gay dads."
Carlson is, if not the polar opposite of Granados, at least a few time zones away across the ideological landscape. Gay rights groups have repeatedly accused him of mocking their causes on his highly rated Fox News show. He has warned against the supposed danger of "diversity" and demographic changes, as Politico noted. Earlier this month, a group of antifascists allegedly surrounded his house, beat on his door and terrorized his wife.
Granados would hardly be the first person this year to mix politics and public dining. But in a statement released Sunday through his attorney, he denied insulting Carlson's daughter and making her cry.
"I NEVER called any member of his family any names," Granados said. "I never attacked his daughter as Tucker claims. ... Tucker has created this story out of thin air - it never happened."
Rather, Granados said that Carlson, his son and a third man walked over to the bar after Carlson's daughter complained to them. Everyone seems to agree that Carlson's son doused Granados with wine. Avenatti said Granados doused the son with a drink in retaliation, at which point things really got ugly.
"Tucker threatened me with physical violence and told me to 'Go back to where you came from,' before another patron started filming," Granados said in his statement.
The brief video Avenatti posted this weekend does not show Carlson telling Granados to return to his home country - though the Fox News host repeatedly curses and orders him to leave the restaurant.
Granados' replies can't be heard in the video. Avenatti sent The Washington Post a statement he said was written by an eyewitness who heard Granados tell Carlson: "I'm not leaving. I live here." The lawyer declined to identify the person who wrote the statement, so The Post cannot verify it.
Avenatti said he is trying to identify the man who grabs Granados' collar near the end of the video.
"Hey! Hey!" an onlooker yells as the man yanks at Granados' clothing. "Please! There's no excuse for violence."
The collar-grabber turns toward the camera: "You're not going to defend that guy. You see what he did?"
"I'm just saying there's no need for violence," the onlooker repeats.
The conversation is obscured by the sounds of commotion and clinking silverware, but the man appears to say "there will be" before everyone is ushered away from the bar.
Avenatti said he intends to file a complaint of assault and battery against the man and complaints of violent threats against Carlson and his son. Fox News has not replied to a request for comment on the accusations.
"I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger," Carlson wrote in his statement this weekend. "But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son."
Nor, he said, did he know anything about Granados' ethnicity or sexual orientation before the incident - "not that it would have mattered."
Carlson said he complained to management at the country club immediately afterward, and Granados' membership was revoked after a three-week investigation.
In a statement to The Post, the club's management declined to comment on the investigation but disputed "inaccurate allegations being spread by individuals who were not present during the incident, and whose interpretation of events are refuted by the accounts of multiple eyewitnesses."
The club did not identify the witnesses its investigators spoke to. Neither did Avenatti, who provided statements from two people he said were at the bar and never heard Granados insult Carlson's daughter.
Avenatti did confirm that his client's membership was revoked last week. He blamed Carlson.
"There's no question he's attempting to use his notoriety and influence to have this man excluded from the club," the lawyer said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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