Owen Jones walks off Sky News show after hosts deny Orlando massacre was homophobic (VIDEO)
The journalist walked off after claiming his co-panelist and host were trying to ‘deflect’ attention from the fact that Omar Mateen deliberately attacked gay people.
Journalist Owen Jones cut short his appearance on a live Sky television show after the show’s host refused to name the shooting an attack on LGBT people.
At least 50 people were killed and 53 were injured in the shooting at Pulse over the weekend.
With more than a hundred now confirmed dead or injured, the shooting has become the worst in American history.
“At the end of the day this was a homophobic hate crime, as well as terrorism and it has to be called out, 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,” Jones said on the show.
“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,” he added.
However, host Mark Longhurst disagreed, claiming the crime had been carried out against “human beings,” who were “trying to enjoy themselves, whatever their sexuality.”
Longhurst – who grew visibly agitated – added that Jones could not suggest the Orlando attack was “worse” than the murder of more than 100 people in Paris last year.
Co-panellist Julia Hartley-Brewer also attacked Jones’ stance, saying she could equally be at risk for being a “gobby woman”.
As Jones grew increasingly exasperated by the pair’s view, he told them that they couldn’t possibly understand, as they are not gay.
“I’m sorry, I just find this the most astonishing thing I’ve ever been involved in on television,” he said.
“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.”
As the co-panelists continued to dismiss his claims Jones said: “I’ve had enough of this,” took off his microphone and left the set, admitting he was “upset”.
Hartley-Brewer responded by accusing Jones of overreacting, seemingly unaware of the effect the shooting has had on the LGBT community worldwide.
Bars on London’s Old Compton Street will stop serving at 19:00 GMT on this evening, and invite punters onto the street to hold hands and pay tribute to those lost and injured in the tragedy.
The gesture hope to send a message of solidarity with those in Orlando and the global LGBT community.
Watch the a clip of Jones walking off below: