In the early hours of Sunday morning, there was a mass shooting in the Florida city of Orlando. A gunman armed with what is believed to have been an AR-15 type assault rifle shot dead at least 49 innocent people at Pulse, an LGBT club, before attempting an armed confrontation with Police, in which he was himself killed. This was clearly a homophobic hate crime, as well as an act of domestic terrorism.
Pretentious? Who, Moi?
To acknowledge both these facts should not have been a difficult thing to do. But for Mark Longhurst, hosting the Sky News press preview late on Sunday evening, it was just that. This deflection angered guest Owen Jones to the extent that he walked off the set.
But what Jones made clear is that no blame for the situation should be directed at fellow guest Julia Hartley Brewer, Tweeting “And please lay off @JuliaHB1 - none of the abuse directed at her is in my name” to underscore his concern.
Having extended the hand of friendship, one might have expected Ms Hartley Brewer to adopt a measured and understanding tone in response. But that would have missed her insatiable appetite for promoting More And Bigger Media Attention Events For Herself Personally Now. Jones was her latest meal ticket, and with the inevitability of night following day, she used the platform given her by the Telegraph to put the boot in.
“The Orlando shooting is not about Owen Jones, despite what his hate-mob would have you think” tells the suitably modest and self-effacing headline, before she really lets rip. “It is not about one gay journalist and his apparently hurt feelings … Because I am a straight woman … that means I am simply not qualified to speak on anything affecting gay people”. She had said nothing wrong. But Jones did not say she had.
There was no stopping Ms Hartley Brewer. After inventing her versions of his disquiet, she concluded “All three of these points are of course completely wrong and, frankly, really rather stupid”, then doubled down with “The truth is that Owen didn’t want to listen to what anyone else said and when we did speak, he shouted us down. It was all about him and no one else was allowed to venture any opinion that didn’t fit neatly into his own narrative … he chose to make the entirely false claim that we had attempted to silence him”.
He didn’t say that, either, but that does not stop her accusing Jones of telling “a blatant, flat-out lie”, before ranting “The truth is that Owen didn’t walk out ‘in disgust’. He wasn’t making statement. He had had a bad day, was tired and emotional, and was spoiling for a fight. This wasn’t a call to arms, this was just a childish tantrum … Owen Jones does not deserve an apology and he certainly won’t be getting one from me”.
He’s not asked for an apology from her. But now that she has openly accused him of being ratarsed on set (we all know what “tired and emotional” is code for, thanks) he has a damn good reason to request one. Her use of “This is peak Generation Snowflake … If Owen Jones wants to live in a world where people can only say what is on the officially approved list of platitudes, then perhaps he has more in common with Islamic State than he thinks” just underscores the point. This is abuse ad infinitum ad nauseam, to no point at all.
Julia Hartley Brewer wants to extend her fifteen minutes of fame, but on the basis of this rant, she’s already hung around far too long.