A man asked Sen. John Fetterman on Sunday about his stance on the war in Gaza.
A video shows the man being shoved out of the campaign event after asking his question.
The man is a human rights attorney who also writes op-eds for a Russian state news outlet.
A man was forcibly removed from a campaign event on Sunday after he approached Sen. John Fetterman and asked why he's opposed to a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
Dan Kovalik, the man kicked out of the event, posted a video of the altercation on Sunday to his profile on X shortly after it occurred. According to his website, Kovalik is a "lawyer and human rights advocate" who "currently" teaches courses on international human rights law at the University of Pittsburgh's Law School. The university told Insider his contract expired in June, was not renewed, and that he's no longer affiliated with the university.
Kovalik also writes an occasional op-ed for Russia Today, a Russian state-funded media group that the US Department of State recently called a critical element of the country's "disinformation and propaganda ecosystem" where he's raged against "Ukraine's atrocities" and called Western liberals "woke and war-crazed" in an essay while also vilifying transgender people.
—Dan Kovalik (@danielmkovalik) October 29, 2023
In the clip, Kovalik can be seen calmly approaching the senator at a campaign event for Sara Innamorato, a candidate for county executive, at Shorty's Tap x Taco in West Homestead, Pennsylvania.
Kovalik, who told Insider he paid to attend the event, asked Fetterman to defend his recent statement about the fighting in Gaza, where he said that "now is not the time to talk about a ceasefire" and "we can talk about a ceasefire after Hamas is neutralized."
"Can I ask you something?" Kovalik asked Fetterman in the noisy restaurant. "Why aren't you supporting a humanitarian ceasefire?"
A man off-camera who said he worked for the senator told Kovalik he could direct his questions to him. Kovalik said he wanted to speak directly to Fetterman.
"Ten thousand people in Gaza have been killed," Kovalik said. "Half of them children. The Pope's calling for a ceasefire. The UN has called for it. I'm just asking you. You're a good guy. I voted for you. I know you're a nice guy. This is important."
Though Kovalik's figures aren't precisely accurate — the Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday that more than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed in recent weeks predominately composed of children and women — the number of casualties could be far higher as many people still remain trapped underneath the rubble of their homes following bombings from the Israeli military.
After Kovalik told Fetterman "this is important," another man told the human rights attorney he needed to leave. He then shoved Kovalik out of the restaurant as the attorney tried to hand Fetterman a flyer.
Asked for comment about the event, Innamorato's campaign said the man who shoved Kovalik was affiliated with the restaurant. Fetterman's office said the "person who removed the man at the event last night was the owner of the establishment — he does not work for John's senate office or his campaign."
Fetterman's office added, "John values civil discourse with all of his constituents, including last night, when he had productive conversations with other constituents who disagreed with his position on Israel and Gaza (and many who support it)."
After learning that he wasn't removed from the event by Fetterman's staff, Kovalik told Insider in an interview that he "can't necessarily blame Fetterman," but noted that he never received an apology from the senator after the incident occurred.
"I don't care about myself," Kovalik said. "I'm not a baby, I know how these things go. I care about the issue, but I honestly think it doesn't look good for him."
Insider attempted to reach the owner of the restaurant, leaving contact information with a manager Monday afternoon, but they did not respond by the time of publication.
Read the original article on Business Insider