BBC anchor Emily Maitlis grilled Sean Spicer over his performance as White House press secretary in an interview on the network Tuesday evening.
“You have corrupted discourse for the entire world by going along with these lies,” said Maitlis. “You joked about it when you presented the Emmy awards, but it wasn’t a joke. It was the start of the most corrosive culture.”
Spicer — who was speaking remotely from New York City — took the criticism stoically but pushed back sharply in his response.
“You act as though everything began and ended with that. You’re taking no accountability for the many false narratives and false stories that the media perpetrated,” he said.
“I take responsibility where I think I’ve fallen short, where I could have done better but for you to lay that kind of claim and make everything sound like it started and ended with Donald Trump is just absolutely ridiculous.”
It was a tough interview, something the former White House press secretary rarely experienced from Maitlis’ counterparts in U.S. media. You can watch the full exchange here:
Spicer is currently on a media tour to promote his new book, “The Briefing,” which chronicles his stormy six-month tenure as press secretary. Sales have been less than stellar, however. According to Amazon.com, he lags far behind people like Judge Jeanine Pirro and Gregg Jarrett who published newly released pro-Trump books.
In his tour of media studios overseas, Spicer has shown an unusual level of contrition and introspection for his role as a Trump mouthpiece. Earlier this week he also told the BBC that he was often incredibly lonely in the position.
“There were days that were extremely lonely in that job because I screwed up,” he said on “Newsnight” on Monday.