Journalist Owen Jones storms out of Orlando attack interview

  • 13/06/2016
Journalist Owen Jones storms out of Orlando attack interview

Journalist Owen Jones has stormed out of a Sky News interview after the interviewer refused to call a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida an attack on LGBT people.

"At the end of the day this was a homophobic hate crime, as well as terrorism and has to be called out," Mr Jones said. "As I have to say, on Sky News and lots of news channels, there's not been many LGBT voices that I've heard myself.

"It is one of the worst atrocities committed against LGBT people in the Western world for generations, and it has to be called out as such."

Host Mark Longhurst argued the incident was an attack on "human beings [...] trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality".

On Saturday night (local time) gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside gay nightclub Pulse, killing at least 50 people and injuring 53 more.

Mr Jones said the presenters were trying to "deflect" the homophobic motive of the attack, saying Mr Longhurst "could not understand", as he was not gay.

"I'm sorry, I just find this the most astonishing thing I've ever been involved in on television. If he'd walked into a synagogue and massacred dozens of Jewish people, you wouldn't be saying what you're saying now; you would be talking about it as an anti-Semitic attack.

"This was a deliberate attack on LGBT people."

He became increasingly upset, and took his microphone off and left the set.

UK MP Diane Abbott later tweeted to co-panelist Julia Harley-Brewer: "Don't think you realise how in denial about homophobic nature of the attack you appeared to be."

A fundraising page set up by Equality Florida has raised more than US$900,000 for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.