Right-wing commentator and “cool kid’s philosopher” Ben Shapiro stormed out of a contentious BBC interview on Thursday after accusing the conservative host of being a “leftist” and bragging about how popular he is.
During the pre-taped interview with BBC interviewer Andrew Neil promoting his new book, The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great, Shapiro quickly became perturbed when Neil—who is known for playing devil’s advocate in interviews—pressed him on recent attempts to roll back abortion rights, asking the editor-in-chief of clickbait rage factory The Daily Wire if those policies would take America back to the “Dark Ages.”
“You purport to be an objective journalist,” Shapiro sniped. “BBC purports to be an objective, down-the-middle network. 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.”
This caused Neil, chairman of conservative magazine The Spectator, to chuckle and tell his guest, “If you only knew how ridiculous that statement is, you wouldn’t have said it.”
In a bit of damage control, prior to the chat’s airing, Shapiro tweeted Thursday that he had taped an interview with Neil and “misinterpreted his antagonism as political Leftism,” acknowledging that it was inaccurate.
Shapiro, who is famous for saying “facts don't care about your feelings,” continued to grow frustrated and incensed throughout the 16-minute interview, snarling that Neil was playing “gotcha” by highlighting his old tweets and comments, such as claiming “Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage.”
“You talk about undermining the public discourse,” Shapiro whined. “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.” (Interestingly enough, Shapiro’s own website has heard of Neil, lovingly writing up one his segments earlier this year with the cartoonish headline “British Journalist DESTROYS Argument That U.S. Sanctions, Not Socialism, Hurt Venezuela.”)
Eventually, Shapiro said that the “whole thing was a waste of time” and he didn’t “give a damn” what Neil thought of him, declaring, “I am not inclined to continue an interview with someone as badly motivated as you,” before taking off his microphone and declaring “we’re done here.”
“Thank you for your time and for showing that anger is not part of American political discourse,” Neil cheekily replied.