Owen Jones walked off set after a disagreement over Sunday's mass shooting that left 49 people dead

By Naja Rayne
Updated June 13, 2016 10:30 PM
Credit: The Guardian

Author and columnist Owen Jones stormed off the set of British series Sky News after he clashed with host Mark Longhurtst over the importance of the LGBT aspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando.

In a video from the broadcast, The Guardian, Jones first argues with Longhurst about the significance of homosexuality in the tragic massacre, telling the host that the incident has “to be called out for what it is – an intentional attack on LGBT people.”

Longhurst then chimes in, telling Jones that the shooting is actually an “attack on the freedom of all people to try and enjoy themselves.” Jones, however, disagrees, saying that Longhurst lacks understanding because he is not a part of the LGBT community.

Longhurst then denies the claim, adding that his sexual orientation doesn’t matter in regards to his reaction to the incident that killed 49 and injured 53 others. Meanwhile, fellow guest Julia Hartley-Brewer tries to mitigate the situation by telling Jones that she doesn’t believe he has “ownership” over the crime just because he’s gay, as everyone is “upset and angry” about it.

Jones responds by storming off the set.

On Monday, he addressed the television incident in a tweet.

“On Sky News last night, I realised (sic) how far dome will go to ignore homophobia,” he tweeted.

Longhurst also addressed Jones’ walking out in a statement obtained by Huffington Post UK, in which he expressed “regret” over the segment.

“As the presenter responsible for chairing the conversation, I regret that the segment ended as it did,” he reportedly said. “I absolutely accept the atrocity was, of course, an attack on LGBT people, but I was also trying to reflect what was on the newspaper front pages. It was never my intention to offend Owen Jones and I very much look forward to working with him again in future.”

Julia Hartley-Brewer made a less apologetic statement on what happened, saying on her Talk Radio show that she and Longhurst “repeatedly” acknowledged that the shooting was a homophobic attack, but still received tons of “abuse” on Twitter.

“This is a free country. I as a straight woman am as entitled to talk about the horrific massacre of my fellow human beings whether they are men, straight, American, British, black, white or anything,” she said. “I will continue to say whatever I darn well want to say and what I believe as long as I have breath in my bones.

“I’m not gonna be told by anybody that I’m not allowed to say what I want to say because I’m the wrong sexuality, the wrong sex, the wrong color or whatever. I will not check my white straight privilege at the door.”