A New York man is facing charges after he pushed a megaphone into the face of an independent U.S. Senate candidate Sunday at a Great Barrington event hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Paul Solovay, 74, of Hillsdale, was arrested outside the town hall event after he grabbed hold of the megaphone candidate Shiva Ayyadurai — a Warren opponent and outspoken critic — was using to address Warren supporters and shoved it into the candidate’s mouth, The Berkshire Eagle reports.
Ayyadurai, who received a bloody lip, swelling, and abrasions, went to a hospital, according to the newspaper. Solovay, who was charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct, pleaded not guilty Monday in Southern Berkshire District Court. He was released on personal recognizance.
The encounter, which happened around 12:51 p.m., played out as a crowd of Warren supporters waited to enter the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, according to a Great Barrington police press release. Solovay left the line, crossed Castle Street, and approached Ayyadurai.
“Solovay allegedly engaged in a verbal confrontation that became physical when he pushed the bullhorn toward the speaker, striking his mouth,” police said. “Officers acted quickly to subdue Solovay and place him into custody.”
A video of the incident posted by Ayyadurai on Facebook had garnered over 40,000 views as of Tuesday morning.
“We don’t produce enough engineers. We don’t produce enough doctors. But we do produce a bunch of scumbag lawyer lobbyists like Elizabeth Warren,” Ayyadurai says in the video before it cuts to Solovay shouting at him from across the street.
When the two come face to face, Ayyadurai repeatedly calls Solovay a racist through the megaphone before the 74-year-old pushes it into his face, the video shows.
An Ayyadurai supporter can be seen lunging at Solovay afterward as he falls backward into the street.
As Solovay is walked to a police cruiser, shouts from Warren supporters can be heard as Ayyadurai calls the crowd “liberal fascists.”
“You don’t know what racism is. Look at you; you’ve never experienced it,” says Ayyadurai, 54, who immigrated to the United States from India as a child.
“What you just witnessed is how you white supremacists react when you don’t want to hear the truth from a dark-skinned Indian guy — the same guy you claim you want to help,” he says later.
Ayyadurai, a Belmont scientist and entrepreneur, is running as an independent for Warren’s seat this November after he left the Republican Party last year.