Ben Shapiro abruptly ended a contentious BBC interview Thursday after accusing host Andrew Neil of being a “liberal” and asking him questions in bad faith.
“I don’t frankly give a damn what you think of me since I’ve never heard of you,” Shapiro said after more than 15 minutes of grilling. “I’m not inclined to continue an interview with a person as badly motivated as you as an interviewer, so I think we’re done here.”
During the conversation, Neil — who is also chairman and publisher of conservative-leaning British Spectator magazine — frequently hectored Shapiro over past tweets and articles. But it was his tough characterization of Shapiro’s pro-life positions that first set things off course.
“Why don’t you just say that you’re on the left? Is this so hard for you? Why can’t you just be honest?” Shapiro said.
“Mr Shapiro, if you only knew how ridiculous that statement is, you wouldn’t have said it,” Neil said back through laughter.
The interview, which was pre-recorded and aired on the BBC Friday, came in for no small about of mocking — with Neil’s own Spectator leading the way.
“Ben Shapiro is the famous, fast-talking pundit who regularly ‘owns’ aggressive campus students with his quick wit and rapid repartee. Alas, Shapiro isn’t so ‘crazy smart’ when he comes up against difficult questions from a real interviewer,” the magazine said. “Yesterday he just couldn’t cope with an interrogation from the BBC’s Andrew Neil. He decided that Neil must be a typical BBC leftist and had an epic tantrum.”
Shapiro himself went into damage control before the interview even aired, offering an apology to Neil, saying he mistook “his antagonism as political Leftism.”
“Just pre-taped an interview with BBC’s @afneil. As I’m not familiar with him or his work, I misinterpreted his antagonism as political Leftism (he termed the pro-life position in America “barbaric”) – and that was apparently inaccurate. For that, I apologize,” Shapiro said.