Right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro — known for describing Arabs as “rotten to the core” and claiming they “live in open sewage” — stormed out of an adversarial BBC interview after the host confronted him about his bigoted remarks, Mediaite reports.
Shapiro went on BBC to discuss his latest book, The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great, with host Andrew Neil, a prominent British conservative. But more than Shapiro’s book was discussed during the interview, as the host decided to confront the far-right pundit about his long-held views on a wide range of issues.
The host reminded Shapiro of his statements about Muslims and Jews. Shapiro once said that “Jews who vote for Obama are by and large Jews in Name only.” Neil confronted the pundit about these statements and about his remarks about Muslims and abortion, prompting him to throw a tantrum.
Shapiro responded by suggesting that the British network is biased against him, proceeding to claim that the prominent conservative host is, in fact, a leftist for confronting him about his opinions.
“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,” the host responded, laughing at Shapiro.
As British conservative outlet The Spectator — which Neil is the chairman of — explains, Shapiro appears to have failed to do his research. BBC host Andrew Neil is frequently criticized in Britain for being “too unacceptably un-left for the BBC.” The publication mocked Shapiro’s claims that Neil is a leftist as “hilarious.”
Seemingly realizing what he had done, Shapiro later issued an apology for misinterpreting Neil’s “antagonism as political Leftism.”
— Spectator USA (@SpectatorUSA) May 10, 2019
But Neil, who Shapiro claims was antagonistic, barely scratched the surface of the American pundit’s problematic statements. As PolitiFact noted, one of Shapiro’s best-known videos is one in which he claims to debunk “the myth of the tiny radical Muslim minority.”
As Right Wing Watch noted, Ben Shapiro’s news outlet The Daily Wire frequently spreads similar theories about Muslims. In late 2018, for instance, the publication posted a video which claims that “killing and raping people” is one of the spiritual tenants of Islam.
after being confronted with his past racist comments about Arabs during a BBC interview, Ben Shapiro told the host "I'm popular and you are not" before storming off the set. the cool kids' philosopher! https://t.co/nYWoJIpu6t
— Caleb Ecarma (@calebecarma) May 10, 2019
As ThinkProgress noted in a 2018 piece, although Shapiro frequently describes those who don’t share his views — such as a homosexual couple protesting the fact that they had been denied service — as fascists, many of his stances have been described as racist.
Furthermore, as HuffPost noted, Shapiro’s rhetoric appears to have played a key role in radicalizing Alexandre Bissonnette, a Canadian man who shot and killed six and wounded 19 in a Quebec mosque. Bissonnette, according to evidence shown to a journalist, was an ardent fan of the far-right pundit and obsessively read The Daily Wire.