Posts Tagged As: Sky News

British Journalist Walks Off Live TV Over Downplaying of Homophobia

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2016

I’m seeing the same trend here in the states, and I’ll have much, much  more to say about this. But here’s Owen Jones walking out of a Sky News panel discussion over the host’s insistence on downplaying the homophobia aspect to yesterday’s mass shooting.

“The issue is I will not have people, as a gay man, appropriating — the people who never speak about gay rights except when this happens if there are Muslims involved. Then they’s jump on the bandwagon and they’ll spam as much bile as they want. And I’m proud to live in a city, one the the greatest cities on the face of the earth whose mayor is a Muslim. He votes for equal rights including equal marriage in defiance of lots of other people and death threats.”

Host Mark Longhurst then brought up the arrest in L.A. of James Wesley Howell who was reportedly preparing to attack the Gay Pride celebration there. He only acknowledged that Howell was not Muslim “as far as we know,” and asked “whether there is, as you say, a hate crime or whether something is being done in the name of religion.” As if there was a difference.

Jones responded: “Can we just be clear, because you say its lunatics and all the rest of it. We’ve got to be clear. If he went into a synagogue and killed innocent Jewish people… People have done that, disgusting anti-Semitic terrorists, we will call it out for what it is. This person is a homophobic terrorist, whatever else he is. Presumably he’s got some twisted view of Islamic fundamentalism to justify his… even though he’s a knuckle-dragging thug and a get. At the end of the day this is a homophobic hate crime as well as terrorism. It as be called out because I have to say on Sky News and lots of other news, there’s not been many LGBT voices I’ve personally heard myself. And people have to understand as LGBT people watching this and elsewhere, they look at something like this and it is one of the worst atrocities committed against LGBT people in the Western world for generations.”

Longhurst continued to insist that the attack was carried out against human beings. “You cannot say this is a worse attack than what happened in Paris.” It was, he said, a crime Host Mark Longhurst interjected and said the crime had been carried out against “human beings” who were “ trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality.”

“What are you talking about?” Jones exclaimed. “I’m trying to understand the point you’re making. It was a deliberate attack on LGBT people in an LGBT venue. It was a homophobic terrorist attack. Do you understand that? It’s not some abstract… just kind of he picked a random club out of nowhere. He picked a club because it was full of people he regarded as evil. That’s why he picked the club.”

Co-panelist Julia Hartley-Brewer joined the minimization by suggested that the killer “might have equally horrified by me as a gobby woman”.

“Well fuck!,” Jones replied. “Why would you try to deflect?”

“I’m sorry, I just find this the most astonishing thing I’ve ever been involved in on television,” he continued. “If he’d walked into a synagogue and massacred dozens of Jewish people, you wouldn’t be saying what you’re saying now. You’d be saying it was an anti-Semitic attack. This was a deliberate attack on LGBT people. It was a deliberate attack on the LGBT community. It’s bizarre…”

As the panel continued to divert and dissemble, Jones clearly withdrew himself form the discussion. Longhurst then brought up Peter Tachell’s gay rights group Stonewall to introduce the LGBT element on Longhursts’ chosen terms (“Is the danger… that you focus on one particular area and not the whole threat to our modern way of life?”). “I’ve had enough of this,” Jones said as he took off his microphone and walked off the set.


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