HBO Disputes Claim Of Deceptive Editing in AR-15 Hit... But Won't Provide Video

Jim Sullivan, one of the gun designers who helped develop the most popular rifle sold in the United States, the AR-15, claims that HBO’s clearly biased Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel episode about the AR-15 rifle selectively edited the video to completely change the context of what he said.


Within hours, HBO’s Greg Domino contacted Bearing Arms with what he claims was an accurate transcript of the Sullivan interview, and which he says shows HBO did not change the context of Sullivan’s statements.

Here is the written claim from HBO.

From HBO Spokesman, Ray Stallone:

Real Sports fairly and accurately represented Mr. Sullivan’s interview in our report. Mr. Sullivan says that we “omitted key parts” of his comments on the lethality of the civilian AR-15 as compared to that of the fully-automatic military version. That claim is untrue.

Below is the part of the interview that Mr. Sullivan is referencing. This is the unedited exchange between our correspondent, David Scott, and Mr. Jim Sullivan, on this topic:

DAVID SCOTT: “The– the essential ballistics that we’ve talked about, the lethality of the AR-15, is– is that reduced in the civilian semi-automatic mode?”


DAVID SCOTT: “It’s not?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “It’s the same.”

DAVID SCOTT: “The same?”

JIM SULLIVAN:  “Same effectiveness. Same– I mean– in fact, the– the gun is functioning exactly the way– the military model is– in semi-automatic. It’s– and– it’s left up to if you– what the twist of the rifling is and the– and the– the length of the barrel. That’s it.”

The exchange above was included in the piece almost verbatim, with edits only for brevity, as follows:

DAVID SCOTT: “The lethality of the AR-15, is– is that reduced in the civilian semi-automatic mode?”


DAVID SCOTT: “It’s not?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Same effectiveness. I mean– in fact, the– the gun is functioning exactly the way– the military model is– in semi-automatic.”



Mr. Sullivan’s comments in the interview were in line with those he had made in phone conversations with HBO producers in the weeks prior to the on-camera interview.

Mr. Sullivan, in his remarks on, also says that Real Sports’ David Scott “pretended not to understand” the difference in the bullets used in military use of the gun as compared to hunting use. Again, this is not the case.

Below is the unedited exchange between Mr. Scott and Mr. Sullivan on the subject of bullets and the Hague Convention, picked up as Mr. Sullivan was explaining his goals in helping design the original AR-15:

JIM SULLIVAN: “You– you want the explosive– effect that was– that’s achievable with high-velocity– unstable bullets.”

DAVID SCOTT: “That’s exactly what the AR-15 delivers?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “That’s exactly what the AR-15 shoots.”

DAVID SCOTT: “So that was– that was an advance?”


DAVID SCOTT: “And– and that gun became a success, and eventually, the– the– the s– the standard? Explain how that–”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Yeah. Well, I mean, the gun– was adopted as long– as well as the– the cartridge, the ammunition for it. I mean, they have to be t– you know, work together.”

DAVID SCOTT: “Did you realize right away you had– you had a success on your hands?”


DAVID SCOTT: “It was clear?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Oh, it was s– spectacularly clear.”

DAVID SCOTT: “Do you remember– do you remember the– the– the moment that– that the group at ArmaLite–”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Oh, they– I mean, we were surprised at– at the difference that you could get just by going down a, you know, less and less stable bullet.”

DAVID SCOTT: “Really?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “And the reason that that is important in military ammunition, military– the Hague Convention– prohibits the use of expanding projectiles, expanding bullets– hollow point bullets. Dumb dumb bullets they’re c– they’re called sometimes, okay? This was not a h– it– the bullet didn’t expand at all. It just tumbled.

DAVID SCOTT: “So it was allowed under the N.A.T.O. treaties.”


DAVID SCOTT: “But it did similar damage to the bullets–”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Well, it g—”

DAVID SCOTT: “that were banned?”

JIM SULLIVAN: “Yeah. Yeah. Right.”

DAVID SCOTT: “Yeah, interesting. So– there must have been– there must have been– a great sense of enthusiasm for the project when this became known.”

JIM SULLIVAN: “That’s correct.”

Please note that none of the dialogue above was included in our on-air report.


This is what Real Sports claims was the transcript, but as we all know, gun control supporters don’t always provide an accurate transcript, do they? I therefore asked Mr. Domino for video clips of these segments to be posted to YouTube—HBO does have a very active YouTube presence, including a Real Sports playlist including 166 videos—so that I could verify that the video interview of Mr. Sullivan matched the transcripts provided by HBO.

Mr. Domino pointedly refused to post the video clips, and reiterated his claim that the transcripts were accurate.

I pointed out to Mr. Domino that we cannot simply take his word that the transcript is accurate at a time where Bryant Gumbel’s contemporaries are being caught red-handed committing fraud in other anti-gun video productions.

Mr. Domino has so far not responded to that indisputable fact.

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