Right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro stormed out of a contentious BBC interview on Thursday after accusing conservative host Andrew Neil of being a “leftist.”
The interview, which was conducted via satellite between London and Los Angeles on Thursday, became heated after Neil observed that “all the new policies” are “coming from the left, and they’re popular,” while conservatives were absent of new ideas.
After Shapiro objected to his assessment, Neil described the “fetal heartbeat” abortion bill signed into law this week in Georgia as bringing back “the dark ages.”
The bill in question would make it illegal to get an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
“OK, a couple of things … are you [an] objective journalist or an opinion journalist?” Shapiro asked Neil.
“I’m a journalist who asks questions,” Neil replied.
“You purport to be an objective journalist, BBC purports to be an objective, down the middle network,” Shapiro replied. “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?”
“Mr. Shapiro, if you only knew how ridiculous that statement is you wouldn’t have said it,” he said as he chuckled.
Neil asked Shapiro to explain several comments he had made in the past disparaging entire groups of people. He asked him to explain his tweet about Palestinians in which he wrote: “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage.” He also asked Shapiro to explain a tweet in which he wrote, “Jews who vote for Obama are Jews in name only.”
“Frankly, I find this whole thing a waste of time … I don’t give a damn what you think of me since I’ve never heard of you,” Shapiro later said.
“And I’ve never heard of you until I briefed myself of this,” Neil said in reference Shapiro’s new book.
Shapiro removed his microphone and ended the interview, saying “I think we’re done here.”
The editor-in-chief for the conservative site “The Daily Caller” later said he misinterpreted Neil’s “antagonism as political Leftism.”
“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,” he wrote to his 2.13 million followers.
Actress Alyssa Milano later compared Shapiro’s on-air tantrum to that of her seven-year-old child.
Milano pointed out to Shapiro, tagging him directly in her tweet, that “this is what real journalism looks like” outside of conservative media. She added that he sounded “whinier” than her child does “when I tell him he can’t have another piece of candy.”
Hey, @benshapiro. This is what real journalism looks like outside of your slanted FOX news. You sound whinier than my seven year old when I tell him he can’t have another piece of candy. pic.twitter.com/PHnltldFNl
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 10, 2019