U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Fox News cameraman shoved by Roy Moore campaign official in Alabama

Incident Details

Date of Incident
November 27, 2017
Henager, Alabama


Public figure
Was the journalist targeted?
Connor Sheets

A screengrab from a video recorded outside of a community center in Alabama shows Roy Moore campaign official Tony Goolsby shoving a Fox News cameraman.

— Connor Sheets
November 27, 2017

An unidentified Fox News cameraman was shoved by Tony Goolsby, a campaign official with the Senate campaign of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, on Nov. 27, 2017, while waiting for Moore’s arrival outside of a campaign event organized by Goolsby at a community center in Henagar, Alabama.

Video of the altercation recorded by AL.com investigative reporter Connor Sheets shows Goolsby, the DeKalb County chairman of Moore’s Senate campaign, grabbing a Fox News TV camera by the lens and pushing the cameraman backwards several feet. 

The video also shows a second man, whom Fox News later identified as a DeKalb County GOP staffer, verbally confronting a second cameraman. “Follow orders,” the GOP staffer tells the second cameraman, who backs away. “Go, now.” 

Reporting from the scene, Fox News correspondent Jonathan Serrie described what happened to “Fox News @ Night” anchor Shannon Bream.

“Organizers initially informed the media that Moore would be parking at the front entrance, walking in through the front entrance, so that’s where the cameras were stationed,” he said. 

“Well, then when his car arrived, it actually pulled around to a side entrance. So cameras started running to the side entrance to get a shot of the candidate emerging from his car, and that’s when two individuals — Derwood Regan, who’s affiliated with the DeKalb County Alabama GOP and the other being Tony Goolsby, the DeKalb County chairman for the Roy Moore campaign — decided to push the cameras back and physically manhandle two Fox News photographers, pushing them away and grabbing their cameras.”

“At some point during the scuffle, you hear my producer David Lukowitz trying to intervene, telling the men not to touch the cameras,” Serrie said. “It’s not unusual for people to get bumped around a bit in a media scrum. This was not a scrum, though, and it’s highly unusual for members of a political campaign to physically engage in this manner with members of the press.”

Serrie said that the altercation occurred on public land, outside of a publicly-owned community center, and added that Fox News had officially RSVP’d to the event, providing the Moore campaign with the names of the cameramen and other Fox News staffers who planned to attend.

According to The Weekly Standard’s John McCormack, Moore was not even in the car that Goolsby tried to stop the Fox News cameraman from filming.

“The Moore campaign coordinator was shoving a Fox News cameraman to keep him away from a car that Roy Moore wasn’t even riding in,” McCormack reported. “‘That was a decoy car,’ Rodney Ivey, a DeKalb County GOP official on the scene that night, told me. ‘They [the press] run over there wanting Roy Moore, and we had it already planned, and we slipped him in the back door while all that was going on.’”

Moments after his altercation with reporters, Goolsby introduced Moore at the Henager Community Center.

“Before we get started we’re going to lay down a few ground rules,” he told the audience. “There will be no outbursts from anyone in the crowd. If there is, we’ll ask you to leave, and if you don’t leave, we’ve got security that will remove you. Judge Moore will not field any questions from the media or anybody else.”

Moore campaign chairman Bill Armistead later released a statement to Fox News about the shoving incident.

“Our campaign certainly doesn’t condone any pushing or shoving of anyone, certainly not reporters or anyone else,” he said in the statement, before going on to accuse journalists of “trying to stampede us in a lot of different situations and running down hallways, chasing after, shouting things that are inappropriate.”

In an interview with local TV station WHNT, Goolsby criticized the Fox News journalists and defended his actions.

“The light from the camera spotlight hit me right square in the face,” he said. “Just a reaction of protection and everything, I did reach out and push the light out of my face.”

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].