Author and activist Owen Jones left a Sky News interview live on air yesterday because the show’s presenter was unwilling to call this weekend’s mass shooting in Florida a “homophobic attack”.
Omar Mateen killed 50 people and wounded 53 more when he opened fire at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was shot dead by police.
“This was a homophobic hate crime as well as terrorism,” Jones said while being interviewed on Sky News by presenter Mark Longhurst. “This has to be called out for what it is.”
Longhurst disagreed with Jones, saying the attack had targeted “human beings” who were “trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality”, prompting Jones to respond: “This was a deliberate attack on LGBT people in an LGBT venue. It was a homophobic terrorist attack. Do you not understand that?”
After Longhurst and Jones’s fellow guest Julia Hartley-Brewer continued to play down the homophobic motivation behind the attack, Jones told them he had “had enough” and left the set. Watch below.
This morning, Jones has thanked viewers who supported his decision to cut short the interview, writing on Twitter: “Orlando was both a terrorist attack and a homophobic attack on LGBT people – this really isn’t hard. Thanks for all the lovely comments: but it really was just an instinctive reaction to an unpleasant situation, this isn’t about me.”