A host on the far-right cable channel One American News Network, which has amplified a fabricated narrative fuelled by Donald Trump and conspiracy theorists that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him and his supporters, has suggested “traitors” who “tried to steal power” by defeating the former president should be executed.
Pearson Sharp’s monologue – expressing no awareness that a pro-Trump mob of hundreds stormed the US Capitol to toss out the votes of millions of Americans – claimed that the election was “actually overthrown” by Democrats, despite a complete lack of evidence from Trump’s own campaign and administration officials, numerous hand recounts and elections administrators across the US.
On the broadcast on 23 June, Mr Sharp said: “How many people were involved in these efforts to undermine the election? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? How many people does it take to carry out a coup against the presidency?”
His apparent gaslighting ignored both the campaign that fuelled the failed insurrection and a months-long effort from Mr Trump and his allies to undermine mail-in ballots and the election before a single ballot was cast.
He said that when the “dust settles” in partisan-driven audits of election results in states that Mr Trump lost, still being carried out seven months after his election loss, “what happens to all these people who are responsible for overthrowing the election?”
“What are the consequences for traitors who meddled with our sacred democratic process and tried to steal power by taking away the voices of the American people?” he said. “Well, in the past, America had a very good solution for dealing with such traitors. Execution.”
He added that “no one is above the law” and “the consequences are clear”.
Mass executions of perceived political enemies have been central to the violent far-right QAnon delusion, which celebrated the OAN segment on social media.
During the Capitol riots on 6 January, crowds stormed the halls of Congress calling to hang then-Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the certification of electoral college results, and threatened to kill Democratic lawmakers.
The Independent has requested comment from the network.
Will Sommer, a reporter for The Daily Beast who has extensively covered QAnon, said its proponents saw the clip “as proof that the mass executions are right around the corner”.
The network is carried by television service providers directed by AT&T and Verizon.
Voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems issued a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Fox News, MyPillow’s Mike Lindell and Trump lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani for over claims that the company was enmeshed in a conspiracy to manipulate votes.
Dominion also issued legal warnings to Newsmax, which issued a statement on air and on its website and publicly apologised, and OAN, which reportedly removed several stories about voting machines from its platforms.