The National Geographic Channel allegedly blocked a reporter from attending a premiere because the journalist has covered the ongoing scandal surrounding Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
CNN media reporter Tom Kludt wrote on Twitter that his press pass for for the Monday premiere of National Geographic Channel’s “Killing Jesus” was denied “out of respect” for O’Reilly.
“Killing Jesus” is based on O’Reilly’s bestselling book of the same name.
“I was going to attend the red carpet event tonight for the premiere of ‘Killing Jesus,’ but a publicist just said my credential was denied,” Kludt said. “National Geographic publicist said that after reviewing my coverage, they have declined my credentials ‘out of respect’ for Bill O’Reilly. I’ve never covered a red carpet before, so I’m a little bummed.”
Reached for comment, the National Geographic Channel confirmed to Business Insider that Kludt would not be allowed into the event. However, Chris Albert, senior vice president of communications at the channel, said the slight was simply because the premiere needed to cut one reporter due to space issues.
“As we were finalising the carpet list, we realised that our red carpet was overflowing. CNN had numerous requests for credentials and we needed to limit it to one crew. So we decided to decline a reporter who by his own admission doesn’t cover red carpets. But we would like to thank Tom for bringing all this extra attention to our premiere tonight for ‘Killing Jesus,'” Albert said in a statement.
Kludt covered O’Reilly’s recent controversies in which the Fox News star is accused of fabricating stories about his early reporting years. Notably, Kludt published an audiotape that appeared to contradict O’Reilly’s claim that he was outside the house of a Lee Harvey Oswald associate, George de Mohrenschildt, the night he shot himself in 1977. In the audio tape, O’Reilly is heard asking about the suicide and declaring his intent to visit de Mohrenschildt’s Florida home.
After the CNN story was published, a former O’Reilly colleague, Bob Sirkin, backed up his account of the incident. Sirkin said he was with O’Reilly at the time and the Fox News host was definitely at the scene of the suicide. O’Reilly has passionately denied fabricating stories and pointed to Sirkin’s statement as validation of his truthfulness.
“It remains preposterous for anyone to claim that O’Reilly and I were not in Florida before, during, and following de Mohrenschildt’s death,” Sirkin said.
Questions have also been raised about O’Reilly’s description of time he spent in Argentina covering the Falklands War in 1982.
Kludt did not immediately a return request for comment from Business Insider. However, he posted a followup tweet noting some “irony” about his situation:
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