OAN host suggests mass "execution" of those who oppose Trump's voter fraud claims

"America had a very good solution for dealing with such traitors: execution," an OANN host said Wednesday

Published June 24, 2021 6:47PM (EDT)

A reporter with One America News Network microphone (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A reporter with One America News Network microphone (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A host on the right-wing cable network One America News Network (OANN) called for the mass execution of former President Donald Trump's opponents, saying the extreme punishment should be used on anyone who sought to "carry out a coup" against Trump while pushing baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

OAN host Pearson Sharp began the Wednesday monologue by claiming, "radical Democrats left fingerprints all over the country" of supposed vote tampering, which he repeatedly called a coup attempt. Pearson's fever dream continued with an outline of the way he wanted to discipline those who believe President Joe Biden won the election — with a veritable genocide.

"How many people were involved in these efforts to undermine the election? Hundreds? Thousands?" Sharp asked. "Tens of thousands? How many people does it take to carry out a coup against the presidency? And when all the dust settles from the audit in Arizona and the potential audits in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin, 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? What happens to them?" the OAN host stated. "Well, in the past, America had a very good solution for dealing with such traitors: execution."

"Treason is considered the highest of all crimes and is the only crime defined in the U.S. Constitution," Sharp added, "which states that anyone is guilty of treason if they support America's enemies."

The segment was quickly noticed by QAnon conspiracy theorists and praised by the group's cult-like following. 

One viewer even posted a video of himself on TikTok excitedly shouting, "They get hung!" during the unhinged monologue.

Julian Feeld, a researcher who studies the far-right and co-host of the QAnon Anonymous podcast, said the monologue was a perfect example of OAN's continued appeals to the "bloodthirsty fantasies" QAnon believers want to see.

"One America News is playing on people's desire for justice and political representation, but has no interest in helping its audience achieve that," Feeld told Salon. "Instead, they rely on a series of falsities and inversions to gin up outrage, then propose the same bloodthirsty fantasies we're used to seeing from QAnon conspiracy theorists."

"This is a growing reality: a portion of the American population yearns to see the boot of the military or the police come down on their perceived enemies and right-wing media pundits seem more than happy to draw up a list of who those enemies are," he added. 

The clip was first spotted by eagle-eyed Daily Beast reporter Will Sommer, who discovered the segment after seeing it circulate among QAnon believers.

"There's a real fascist vibe to this One America News personality calmly calling for the execution of potentially tens of thousands of Americans over fake voter fraud claims," Sommer tweeted.

"I came across the clip because QAnon people are seeing it as proof that the mass executions are right around the corner. Lots of glee in the Q chat rooms, demands for how exactly their imagined executions will be carried out, and complaints they had to wait too long," he added.

OAN has become ever more fringe in the post-Trump era, delving repeatedly into baseless conspiracies, including theories that appease QAnon adherents who believe leading Democratic politicians and celebrities are running a secret child sex trafficking ring. 

Sharp did explain his comments to Talking Points Memo, saying that he wasn't seeking to "embrace" executing Americans — simply pointing out that the punishment is theoretically possible under current law — while at the very same time doubling down on his initial remarks:

"No, neither myself, nor OAN is 'embracing executing thousands of people,'" Sharp replied. "OAN is simply pointing out that if election fraud is proven, then it could very well constitute treason. And according to our laws, treason is punishable by death. If it is found that government officials coordinated with foreign countries to overthrow the election, then that would be the very definition of treason. Which, according to our nation's laws, could result in execution."

He then helpfully directed TPM to the federal law defining treason and its punishment, death.

"These are simply facts," he said. "You may disagree with the suggestion that election fraud was committed. However, it is indisputable that the US has laws which lay out consequences for committing certain crimes, including treason. This report is only making that point clear."

OAN didn't immediately return a Salon request for comment. 

You can watch the full OAN clip, via YouTube

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

MORE FROM Zachary Petrizzo

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2020 Election Clip Crime Donald Trump Oan One America News Pearson Sharp. Politics Right Wing Treason