Ben Shapiro Storms Out of Confrontational BBC Interview: ‘I’m Popular and No One Has Ever Heard of You’
Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro walked out of a BBC interview yesterday after the host Andrew Neil confronted him with his racist remarks about Arabs and other past controversial comments.
Neil was interviewing Shapiro about his new book, The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great. The book, in part, focuses on the erosion of civility in American political discourse, which led Neil to ask Shapiro about his history of less-than-civil punditry.
The interview quickly went off the rails after Neil asked if GOP policies, like the new anti-abortion policies in Georgia, are bringing America back to “the Dark Ages.”
“You purport to be an objective journalist, BBC purports to be an objective, down the middle network,” Shapiro responded after the two went back-and-forth over the framing of the question. “It obviously is not, it never has been. And you as a journalist are proceeding to call one side of the political aisle ignorant, barbaric, and sending us back to the dark ages, why don’t you just say you’re on the left.”
Neil, who is actually the chairman of the right-leaning U.K. publication The Spectator, shrugged off the remark: “Mr. Shapiro, if you only knew how ridiculous that statement is you wouldn’t have said it.”
The host went on to bring up YouTube videos titled, “Ben Shapiro Destroys the Abortion Argument” and “Ben Shapiro Destroys Transgenderism and Abortion,” and asked if these types of viral videos are “coarsening public discourse.”
“Well, are those videos labeled by me?” Shapiro shot back. “Why are you picking out random YouTube videos put up by people who are not me and then attributing the titles to me?”
In fact, both the videos “Ben Shapiro Destroys The Abortion Argument” and “Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Transgenderism And Pro-Abortion Arguments” were shared by Shapiro’s own website The Daily Wire.
Neil then pointed to Shapiro’s old comments about “Jews who vote for Obama are by and large Jews in Name only.”
“The point that I am making is that most Jews that are ethnically Jewish are not religiously Jewish in any context,” Shapiro claimed
“No no no, the point you were making that Jews who vote for Obama are Jews in name only,” Neil replied.
“I hope you’re having fun by the way going through every old tweet I’ve ever sent to try to do gotcha-questions,” Shapiro said in response. “If you would like to discuss something I’ve done in like the past five years, how about we do that. I have an entire list [on my website] — I have an entire website of dumb, bad things I’ve said.”
After bringing up Shapiro saying, “Israelis like to build, Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage” and “the Palestinian Arab population is rotten to the core,” Shapiro justified his remarks by saying “they elected Hamas, they educate their children in school that Israel should be obliterated.”
Minutes before walking out of the 16-minute interview, Shapiro went on a tirade calling out the interviewer:
“You talk about undermining the public discourse — it seems to me that simply going through and finding lone things that sound bad out of context, and then hitting people with them, is a way for you to make a quick buck on BBC off the fact that I’m popular and no one has ever heard of you.”
Neil responded with a joke referencing the BBC’s public funding.
“There aren’t many bucks to be made off the BBC unlike American broadcasting, Mr. Shapiro,” the host said, which led Shapiro to respond, “This whole thing is a waste of time. Frankly, I don’t care — I don’t frankly give a damn what you think of me since I’ve never heard of you.”
“I think we’re done here,” he added.
“Thank you for your time and for showing that anger is not part of American political discourse,” Neil dryly said back.
Shapiro acknowledged the trainwreck interview on Twitter yesterday, writing that he apologizes for misrepresenting Neil’s political views.
Just pre-taped an interview with BBC’s @afneil. As I’m not familiar with him or his work, I misinterpreted his antagonism as political Leftism (he termed the pro-life position in America “barbaric”) – and that was apparently inaccurate. For that, I apologize.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 9, 2019
Watch above, via the BBC.
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