Organization responds to undercover video of UTW President

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Project Veritas hidden-camera video Project Veritas hidden-camera video

An investigation was underway Wednesday concerning United Teachers of Wichita Union President Steve Wentz.

Wentz said in a hidden-camera video: "So the bell rings and everybody leaves and I go over, shut the door, lock it, pull the shades down, take all my s*** out of my pockets and I go, do you really want to kick my a**?"

The video was taken by an undercover journalist working for Project Veritas. Its spokesperson says it caught Wentz on camera in a random moment during a conference in Florida about a year ago.

Wednesday KAKE News contacted the organization's spokesperson, Stephen Gordon. He said they didn't target Wentz. Their undercover reporter talked to him at a bar in Orlando. "He offered the information. So obviously we ran with it," Gordon said.

The footage is part of a series by the group that aims to expose corruption within teachers' union. "We'd like to show people how far teacher's unions will go to excuse even the most egregious acts of teachers," Gordon explained, "and these include the physical violence, sexual acts and drug abuse."

The organization said this is the first investigation they've done in Wichita. In this case, it's the threat of physical violence that led to their undercover reporters following up on Wentz.

KAKE News tried to contact Wentz all day Wednesday to get his side of the story. In the organization's video, he later tells a reporter he's never threatened a student: "Oh, I've said that before to a kid, to my own kids."

"How about to your students?" Wentz is asked on the video.

"No, why would I say that to my students?" he responded.

Wentz referred us to the Kansas National Education Association for comment. They sent us this statement:

Kansas educators are committed to the success and safety of every student. This is something Kansas NEA and AFT Kansas take seriously as both a professional and moral obligation.

Kansas NEA and AFT Kansas have been made aware of a heavily edited video being shopped to the media purporting to show a local association leader making inflammatory statements. The tenor and tone of those statements as they are presented in the video do not reflect the principles of KNEA or AFT Kansas. The unedited footage that forms the basis of this inflammatory video is being withheld by the video promoters, which prohibits a full evaluation.

This video is one element of a smear campaign promulgated by a known criminal who masquerades as a journalist in order to engage in deeply divisive and politically motivated attacks that promote his partisan political agenda. In fact inflammatory and serious allegations are being made by the video producers that are not supported even by the heavily edited footage that has been publicized, and important context is missing from key portions of the video.

Manufacturing and concocting stories to entrap people, James O’Keefe has largely been rejected by serious journalists as nothing more than an ideological attack dog. The hallmark of the O’Keefe-style character assassination is to fabricate a story and ignore any semblance of principle or integrity in search of the narrative he was hired to secure.

- KNEA statement