Avenatti takes on Tucker Carlson after bar incident involving Fox News host’s children

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Michael Avenatti, who was once dubbed a “creepy porn lawyer” on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program, claimed Saturday he’s “investigating an alleged assault … committed by T. Carlson” stemming from an incident at a Virginia restaurant.

The attorney, who is exploring a 2020 presidential run and rose to national prominence by representing porn star Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump, posted video on his Twitter account Saturday showing Carlson in a verbal altercation at a country club and asks for help in identifying other people involved in the incident.

Carlson, in a lengthy statement provided through Fox News, said the incident began when a man at the club last month verbally harassed his teenage daughter on her way back from a bathroom and called her a “whore” and “cunt.”

He acknowledged that his son then confronted the man and threw wine at him. But Carlson maintains neither he nor his assaulted the man involved. Avenatti disputed that account, saying it’s an “absolute lie.”

The video, caught on another patron’s cell phone, captures part of an argument involving Carlson and a man seated at the bar, whom Avenatti describes in the tweet as a “gay Latino immigrant.” Only a portion of the video was released.

“Guys. Guys, get the f— out of here,” Carlson, who is seen standing near the bar, can be heard saying. An individual in the video can be seen grabbing a man by the collar. That’s when another person intercedes: “Hey. Hey! … There’s no excuse for violence.” Another person interjects, asking: “Did you see what he did?”

Avenatti told POLITICO he is representing the man who was grabbed by the collar, describing him as the “victim” in the incident.

“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,” Avenatti wrote on Twitter. “Anyone with knowledge, pls contact us.”

In another Tweet, Avenatti added: “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.”

In a statement released by a spokeswoman for Fox News, Carlson said the incident depicted in the video took place on Oct. 13 at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he was having dinner with two of his children.

“Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend,” Carlson said in the statement. “On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘fucking cunt.’”

Carlson continued: “My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.”

Carlson said he detailed the incident to country club’s management, and the club revoked the man’s membership last week following an investigation.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do,” Carlson said in the statement. “I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

Both Avenatti and Carlson have gathered heightened attention in recent months. In September, Avenatti sat across from Carlson in a Fox interview as the chyron underneath them read “Creepy Porn Lawyer Toying with 2020 Run.”

Carlson’s primetime, hour-long program — “Tucker Carlson Tonight” — has come under increased scrutiny in recent months as media critics have called out the anchor for what they consider increasingly nativist and offensive segments during his broadcast.

Roughly 30 protesters from the anti-racist, anti-fascist group Smash Racism DC demonstrated outside Carlson’s home Wednesday, harassing his family to such a degree that his wife locked herself in the kitchen pantry and called 911, Carlson said.

Fox News called the protests “reprehensible” in a statement Thursday. “The violent threats and intimidation tactics toward him and his family are completely unacceptable. We as a nation have become far too intolerant of different points of view," said Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace. "Recent events across our country clearly highlight the need for a more civil, respectful, and inclusive national conversation."

Carlson in March remarked on his show that “no nation, no society has ever changed this much this fast,” and said America’s shifting demographic landscape was “more change than human beings are designed to digest.”

And in September, Carlson asked on-air, “How, precisely, is diversity our strength?” He added: “Can you think, for example, of other institutions such as, I don’t know, marriage or military units in which the less people have in common, the more cohesive they are? Do you get along better with your neighbors or your coworkers if you can’t understand each other or share no common values?”

Avenatti has drawn his own criticism of late. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley referred the attorney and his client Julie Swetnick to the Department of Justice for investigation, accusing them of making false statements against Brett Kavanaugh during a sexual misconduct investigation. Avenatti also drew fire after he was recently quoted in Time saying that the Democrat to run against Trump in 2020 better be a white male. Avenatti said the remark was taken out of context.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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