Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s daughter allegedly pushed the producer of “Democracy Now!” outside a sky box and then grabbed one of the show’s cameras and tried to take it into her father’s suite at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night.
“Democracy Now!” senior producer Mike Burke said he was shouting questions at the billionaire conservative activist as he made his way to his suite in Tampa when Adelson’s daughter stepped in, apparently angry with his questioning.
“A woman that was standing right behind Sheldon Adelson, who we later learned that apparently was his daughter, she stopped, and then forcibly pushed herself back into me, where I lost my footing,” Burke said on today’s edition of “Democracy Now!”
Burke initially asks what Adelson thinks of the Romney/Ryan ticket. Adelson replied, “No comment.”
Watch some of the footage that aired today on “Democracy Now!” (The action starts at about 10:00):
“And then, from there, she went over to Hany Massoud, our cameraperson, and actually grabbed the camera… And she attempted to go into the suite, into the door, with the camera. Hany said something along the lines of, you know, ‘What are you doing? This is our camera.’ And then, at that point, she drops the camera on the ground, and you heard that sound,” Burke said.
Burke also said on the show that Adelson’s daughter, who they did not identify by name, later apologized to him.
“We believe in free access by the press and access to people of interest, but in general, members of the press should not push, shove or force any physical contact with anyone in an effort to conduct an interview,” a source close to the Adelson family told Politico. “We wish them the best in their continuing coverage of the event.”
Burke was not being exactly cordial, but he was attempting to ask Adelson how much money he was going to spend to support Republicans in the 2012 election, making references to the landmark Citizens United Supreme Court case. Politico reports that Adelson has donated roughly $55 million to conservative Super PACs and nonprofits so far in this election cycle.
“I mean, there was a reason we were trying to speak to him. You know, he’s pledged to spend as much as $100 million on this year’s campaign in, you know, an attempt to defeat President Obama. And this is really one of the most significant figures post-Citizens United,” Burke said.
In the landmark court case in 2010, the conservative advocacy group Citizens United won a Supreme Court case against the Federal Elections Committee dealing with federal restrictions on campaign contributions by corporations. Critics argue that the outcome has allowed big corporations to influence elections and wield power in politics.