Sky presenter’s departure ‘nothing to do’ with Owen Jones Orlando shooting row (VIDEO)
Mark Longhurst – who clashed with Jones over the Orlando massacre – is leaving the broadcaster after 16 years.
Owen Jones has claimed the departure of broadcaster Mark Longhurst from Sky News “has nothing to do with me” following rumours Longhurst was sacked following a row between the pair.
The pair clashed during a live discussion about the media coverage of the Orlando nightclub massacre, which claimed the lives of 49 people at a gay club in Florida in June – many of whom were LGBT.
Jones described the shooting as “one of the worst atrocities committed against LGBT people in the western world for generations and it has to be called out as such”.
To Jones’ dismay, Longhurst attempted to downplay the homophobic aspect of the atrocity, claiming it was a crime against “human beings, whatever their sexuality” – a sentiment echoed by co-panelist Julia Hartley-Brewer, who later compared the Guardian columnist to ISIS.
As the co-panelists continued to dismiss his claims Jones announced: “I’ve had enough of this,” took off his microphone and left the set.
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However, claims that the altercation between the pair led to his exit from Sky have been dismissed by both Jones and the broadcaster.
“Mark Longhurst leaving Sky News has nothing to do with me or anything that happened involving me,” Jones tweeted. “Any claim to the contrary is false.”
A Sky source said: “It’s true that Mark is leaving but it has nothing to do with Owen Jones. He’s a great broadcaster but management are shaking up the schedule and it seems Mark isn’t a part of that.”
Longhurst is said to be leaving as part the Sky’s attempts to cut costs and is one of numerous high-profile presenters to be cut.
Relive the pair’s altercation below: