Video from shortly after midnight shows smoke and flames rising from the tree outside the News Corp. Building in Midtown Manhattan.
Fox News anchor Shannon Bream responded on-air to the astonishing act of vandalism minutes later:
Around the same time, police officers apprehended Craig Tamanaha, 49.
Authorities have since charged Tamanaha with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and arson.
Fox News security had observed Tamanaha climbing the tree around 12:15 a.m. Police arrested him as he attempted to flee the scene.
The Washington Post further reports:
In an internal memo obtained by The Post, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott praised authorities and the company’s security team for their efforts in preventing injury from a “deliberate and brazen act of cowardice.”
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“We are in the process of rebuilding and installing as a message that there can be peace, light and joy even during a dark moment like this,” Scott wrote.
The tree, which had been decorated with 10,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights, was lit Sunday as part of the network’s “All-American Christmas” special. The network has had a lighting ceremony for its tree since 2019.
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Fox News host Steve Doocy said over the weekend on the network that the tree lifted the spirits of employees.