Fox News host Sean Hannity 'pulled out gun after on-air row with guest'

Sources claim the long-time anchor was 'showing off' at the time

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The Independent US

Fox News anchor Sean Hannity reportedly pulled out a gun after a row with a guest during a live TV interview.

The conservative TV personality allegedly turned on the weapon’s laser light “causing a red dot to bob around” on the body of Democrat commentator Juan Williams.

Sources told CNN the off-camera incident which took place in October “clearly disturbed” Williams and others present on set but Hannity did appear to be simply "showing off".

Hannity’s colleagues reportedly informed Fox News executives about what had happened but it remains unclear whether anything came of it. Sources claimed the incident was passed on to Bill Shine, the network’s co-president and a longtime friend of Hannity’s.

A Fox News spokesperson said the incident was referred to the legal and human resources departments.

Williams, who is a political analyst for Fox News, played down the incident in a statement.

"This incident is being sensationalised – everything was under total control throughout and I never felt like I was put in harm’s way," the Panama-born journalist said on Twitter. "It was clear that Sean put my safety and security above all else and we continue to be great friends."

Hannity, a well-known supporter of President Donald Trump, denied claims he had pointed the gun at Williams.

“Never pointed at anybody. Let's be clear. Unloaded. Never pointed. I have been a gun safety advocate for years,” the long-time anchor wrote on Twitter late on Thursday.

In a further statement provided by Fox News, Hannity said: "While discussing the issue of firearms, I showed my good friend Juan Williams my unloaded firearm in a professional and safe manner for educational purposes only.

"Every precautionary procedure that I have been trained in since the age of 11 was followed. I've had a conceal carry permit in five states for all of my adult life. Any other interpretation of this is outright false reporting."

"Sean Hannity has been trained in firearm safety since he was 11 years old and has a license to carry a gun in five states, including New York," Fox News also said in a statement. "The situation was thoroughly investigated and it was found that no one was put in any danger."

Hannity, who has interviewed Mr Trump on a number of occasions, is a leading voice among conservative media in the US. The former talk radio host was one of the first people to be signed by the Fox News channel when it was established in October 1996.