Koch protester takes stage at PBS meeting, gets handcuffed and shown out

By Dru Sefton

Forecast the Facts protester

A hotel security officer confronts an activist who took the stage at PBS’s Annual Meeting to protest David Koch’s ties to WGBH. (Photo: Dru Sefton, Current)

SAN FRANCISCO — A protester affiliated with Forecast the Facts, an organization calling for action on climate change, took to the stage immediately after a breakfast session opening the PBS Annual Meeting here, urging pubcasters to support the organization’s campaign to oust billionaire David Koch from the board of Boston’s WGBH.

A panel discussion about the American Experience film “The Last Days in Vietnam” had just concluded when Forecast the Facts Campaign Director Brant Olson stepped to the microphone and yelled to the crowd that he was representing the organization. Forecast the Facts is protesting Koch’s board membership due to the conservative philanthropist’s support of organizations that deny climate change.

The microphone was quickly cut off, and Olson waved a small sign bearing the groups’ logo before leaving the stage.

He left the meeting room with a PBS staffer close behind and told Current he was leaving the building. Hotel security stopped him as he approached the doors. PBS staff asked Current to stop photographing as Olson was put against a wall and handcuffed. Security led him out of the hotel.

In an email to Current, Olson said he was arrested, cited for trespass and released by the San Francisco Police Department.

“WGBH, it appears, would rather have its critics arrested than defend David
Koch’s misinformation campaign on climate change,” Olson wrote.

“The incident that took place at this morning’s session was extremely unfortunate,” PBS said in a statement. “It is our understanding that it is being handled by the hotel in accordance with their standard policy and procedures.”

UPDATE (5/14, 9:59 a.m.): Forecast the Facts posted a video yesterday capturing Olson’s appearance on stage.

  • https://twitter.com/misterjayem MrJM

    “PBS staff asked Current to stop photographing as the protester was put
    against a wall and handcuffed.”

  • Dru Sefton, Current

    Hi Phelpshawkins: Dru from Current here. I couldn’t get a photo of him
    against the wall or being handcuffed because a PBS staffer was holding a
    notebook up to block my iPhone camera. Olson was charged with
    trespassing, which occurred before he left the building.

    • EX-PBS Canvasser

      Hi Dru,

      Thank you for exposing PBS and their horrible business practices. PBS recently had my twitter account @WEDUTHEYDONT suspended because I spoke out against WEDU sending unvetted, professed racists and deviants to our doors to solicit money as well as their practice of taking advantage of our job seekers by offering “high paying” jobs only to reduce their starting pay dramatically upon reporting for duty. Please continue to expose PBS’s bullying and intimation tactics!

  • Vestias

    Stop David Koch

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