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Mayor's Brother, Ari Emanuel, Angered at NBC's Brian Williams, Reports Say

By Alex Parker | March 24, 2013 11:34am | Updated on March 25, 2013 1:06pm

CHICAGO — Don't mess with the Emanuel brothers.

That's what Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel — Mayor Rahm Emanuel's brother — told NBC News' Brian Williams in an interview that aired Friday on the news magazine program "Rock Center." And that's the tone of a letter Ari Emanuel reportedly sent to NBC, complaining about the interview Williams conducted with Ari, Rahm and older brother Ezekiel, the New York Post reports.

The three sat down to talk about Ezekiel Emanuel's new book, "Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family," which recounts their younger days, family life and explains how the brothers — a powerful politician, a famous agent and a successful physician — attained their stature.

Williams rarely challenged the brothers. At one point he questioned Rahm Emanuel on Chicago's high murder rate, and Ari Emanuel bristled when asked about his reputation in Hollywood, but Ari Emanuel nevertheless took issue with the interview, according to the Post.

“Ari was not happy with it,” a source told the Post, calling the interview "aggressive." “It was very odd, and [the brothers] were caught off guard. They were there to talk about the book and growing up together. They had offers to do this interview with lots of other people.”

The interview that aired on NBC seemed far from contentious.

The Emanuel brothers riff off each other in the interview, laughing a lot and teasing each other. Rahm told Williams his mother instilled in them a duty to help others, and told them they were lucky to live in the United States. Williams dubbed the family "America's Jewish Kennedys."

But a story published by The Hollywood Reporter said the interview that aired was different than the interview Williams conducted, saying the brothers were caught off guard by a series of questions that ranged from Ari's Hollywood reputation to the family's involvement with Israel.

The mayor told Williams he makes it a point to call every murder victim's family, and wants to make Chicago a city of opportunity for young, poor residents.

"When they look Downtown, and they see all those high rises, all that promise, all that energy, all that opportunity, if they can’t see themselves in that city, and their future, I have not succeeded in my job," he said.

As for messing with the Emanuels? Don't do it, Ari warned.

"If somebody crosses us or crosses a friend, they know we're going to be in the trench, if necessary," he said. "It's going to be a battle."