Earlier Friday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement that Rushdie is “a person who has been telling the truth in power for decades. Someone who has not been scared there despite the threats that have followed him throughout his adult life, it seems.” .”
Travis Seward, general manager for 10Best at USA TODAY, attended the event. He witnessed a man being “tied up” from the audience to the stage with his “arms swinging out”. Seward said he didn’t hear the man screaming and that Rushdie tried to get away from the attacker and fell.
“It’s really troubling for everyone here,” Seward said. “It’s a quiet place and it was unexpected.”
Rushdie was taken to a hospital by helicopter, police said, and the interviewer suffered a minor head injury. Staniszewski said the interviewer had been treated and released from the hospital.
The Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit educational center, “is currently coordinating with law enforcement and emergency services on a public response,” according to a statement emailed to USA TODAY.
Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to defending free speech through the promotion of literature and human rights, said in an emailed statement Friday that Rushdie was “the target of his words.”