Josh Fox, the filmmaker behind the Oscar-nominated film "Gasland,"
was temporarily arrested Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after failing to hold proper media credentials. The director was in attendance to record during the House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on energy and the environment hearing regarding possible water contamination by hydraulic fracturing in wells in Pavillion, Wyo.
While filming the hearings for a sequel to his 2010 film, Fox was reportedly asked by Capitol Police to turn off his camera because he did not have the proper media credentials. When he refused, the officers arrested him. According to Politico
, Fox was led out in handcuffs before the hearing began while shouting, "I'm within my First Amendment rights, and I'm being taken out."
An ABC News team with the proper credentials was also reportedly denied entry.
The drama that ensued, according to USA Today
, was apparently enough to convince Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) to suspend the committee rules and allow Fox and the ABC crew to film the hearing. When it returned, the committee tabled Miller's motions.
"There were no other broadcast journalists in the room," Fox said. "We've taped public hearings across the U.S. for 3 and half years. We've taped hundreds. This is public speech and it's protected — our ability to report on it is protected by the First Amendment. And they came to us and said, 'You're in violation of House rules.' I told them, 'You're in violation of the rules of the United States of America, which is the Constitution.'"
As a result of his arrest, Fox must appear in D.C. Superior Court on Feb. 15. His "Gasland" sequel is expected to air on HBO
sometime in the next year.