Labor journo Mike Elk, who writes for InTheseTimes Magazine, is looking for justice against the Honeywell PR reps who held him after a Capitol Hill conference last week and a Capitol Hill aide who he alleges grabbed him. The reason: he posed questions to CEO David Cote. They weren’t well received. Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), whose office credentialed Elk for the event, hosted the conference. Elk contacted Capitol Police today and is in the process of pressing charges against Honeywell reps and Nick Muzin (pictured below with Mitt Romney), a senior aide to Scott. Elk (pictured at right) said Muzin grabbed his arm during the Q & A portion of the conference.
Upon leaving the event, Elk trailed Cote down a hallway hoping to get his questions answered. To no avail. Elk alleges that he was held in a side room for several minutes and not permitted to leave. Lee Fang of the RepublicReport.org wrote up the incident at the conference last Thursday.
“These guys shouldn’t be able to do this stuff,” Elk told FishbowlDC this afternoon. “Honeywell’s external communications director Rob Ferris telling me I couldn’t leave because the doors were locked. This is false imprisonment.”
Elk’s account is the following: A Scott staffer had Capitol Police detain Elk who released him after 10 minutes. Capitol Police then asked Elk if he wanted to press charges for being kept in the room against his will. He declined but has since changed his mind. Elk has the entire incident on video and audio. In the audio, Elk can be heard telling Ferris and a Honeywell associate that Ferris is treating him like a “dumb fucking schmuck.” To which a seemingly mild-mannered Ferris replies, “I don’t appreciate you swearing.” (For those of us who know Elk’s penchant for profanity this is especially comical.)
During the conference, Elk posed a question, at which point Muzin allegedly grabbed his arm and tried to get the microphone away from him. The moderator said only entrepreneurs could pose questions. Elk voiced loudly that he was a member of the press and had never been treated this way on Capitol Hill. “You have no right to touch me,” Elk told Muzin. He was not allowed to finish asking his question.
The question that started the brouhaha…Elk asked the Honeywell CEO about his labor practices and the recent release of radioactive UF6 gas at a uranium facility in Metropolis, Ill. caused by a non-union worker performing the job of a union worker in violation of the union’s contract . “Scott’s office earlier had credentialed me to cover the event and I was wearing my media badge when called upon by the moderator to ask a question,” Elk explained.
Watch the video here.
We reached out to Muzin in Scott’s office for comment, specifically his assessment on what happened last week. We also sought comment from Ferris.