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UK TV host slammed for 'racist' interview with Palestine MP

UK TV host Julia Hartley-Brewer slammed for 'racist' interview with Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti
2 min read
06 January, 2024
British television host Julia Hartley-Brewer has been accused of peddling anti-Arab tropes in an interview with Mustafa Barghouti.
Julia Hartley-Brewer's conduct during her interview with Mustafa Barghouti has been intensely criticised [Getty/file photo]

British broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer has come under intense criticism for "racist" comments she made while interviewing a Palestinian politician on Israel's war on Gaza.

Hartley-Brewer repeatedly shouted down Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti during the interview on UK channel TalkTV, conducted in the wake of the assassination of Hamas senior official Saleh al-Arouri earlier this week.

During the interview, Barghouti condemned Israel and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Tel Aviv's brutal onslaught on Gaza and the deadly spillover from the war into the wider Middle East.

But the British television host defended Israel for being a "democratic" country, and she quickly became agitated with Barghouti as he calmly pressed on with his arguments.

When Barghouti continued to speak while she shouted over him, Hartley-Brewer said: "Maybe you're not used to women talking, I don't know".

That comment sparked accusations online of racism, with observers saying that it was a regurgitation of the stereotype that Arab and Muslim men are especially misogynistic.

Seemingly undeterred by the comment, Barghouti accused Hartley-Brewer of "misleading the public" with an ahistorical narrative on Israeli occupation and violence in the Palestinian territories.

Concluding the interview, she once again appeared to suggest that Barghouti's interview approach had been driven by misogyny, saying: "Sorry to have been a woman speaking to you."

Hartley-Brewer was widely panned for the interview by commentators online.

"The level of disrespect shown to Palestinian MP Mustafa Barghouti here is beyond shocking, including anti-Arab trope framing his struggle to explain even basic context as driven by … misogyny," researcher Philip Proudfoot said in a post on X.

Palestinian broadcaster Reem Kelani described the interview "a disgrace", and demanded an apology from Hartley-Brewer.

Others pointed out that Hartley-Brewer’s conduct was a disservice to journalism, saying she was "unprofessional and outrageously rude".

Many have also urged social media users to file a complaint with the UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

The interview is one of many incidences in which Palestinian or pro-Palestine guests on Western media platforms have found themselves shut down by hosts when speaking up on Israel's war on Gaza, which has so far killed almost 23,000 people.