Journalist explains Orlando attack interview walkout

  • 14/06/2016

Journalist Owen Jones has explained why he walked out of a Sky News interview when the interviewer wouldn't call the Orlando mass shooting an attack on LGBT people.

In a column on the Guardian website, Mr Jones wrote: "On Sky News last night, I realised how far some will go to ignore homophobia."

He referred to the crime as "the worst mass killing of LGBT people in the West since the Holocaust".

The interview walkout happened after Sky News host Mark Longhurst argued the crime was an attack on humanity in general. In response, Mr Jones has said his walkout was an instinctive reaction to an untenable situation.

"The presenter continually and repeatedly refused to accept that this was an attack on LGBT people… He not only refused to accept it as an attack on LGBT people, but was increasingly agitated that I -- as a gay man -- would claim it as such."

He said if the same crime had happened in a synagogue, it would rightly be described as anti-Semitic.

He also said there's been negligence from other media outlets.

"In the New York Times' original reporting, it didn't even point out that a gay club had been targeted. The Daily Mail didn't bother to put the atrocity -- the worst terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 -- on its front page…

"This is erasure of LGBT people -- pure and simple -- after their community was horrifically targeted.

"To imagine LGBT people who may have endured distress and internalised prejudice -- just because of who they are -- spending their last moments in terror as a homophobic terrorist hunted them down is just unbearable."

He rebuked what he calls the "'we only care about LGBT rights if Muslims are involved' brigade," saying he's proud to live in London, with a Muslim Mayor who supports LGBT rights.