Sky News 'sacks' presenter Mark Longhurst two months after Owen Jones clash over Orlando LGBT club shootings

Sky source says departure is unrelated to clash with Jones over LGBT nightclub shooting in Orlando 

Heather Saul@heatheranne9
Friday 19 August 2016 11:41
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Owen Jones storms off Sky News set after host 'downplays' homophobic motive

Mark Longhurst is leaving Sky News two months after his row with Owen Jones over the Orlando shootings that saw the Guardian columnist walk off set in disgust.

Jones disagreed with the Sky News Press Preview host and co-panelist Julia Hartley-Brewer during a discussion about the motivations of the gunman in the attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando and whether the atrocity should be called a homophobic attack or be labelled solely as a religiously motivated attack.

His departure has prompted questions about whether it is related to the discussion, but a Sky News source told the Independent Longhurst’s departure was unrelated to his clash with Jones.

“Mark's a great broadcaster but management are looking to shake up the schedule a bit,” the source said. “This has absolutely nothing to do with Owen Jones.”

Reacting to the news, talkRADIO host Hartley-Brewer praised Longhurst as a “consummate professional and a pleasure to work with”.

Jones also addressed the move on Twitter. “Mark Longhurst leaving Sky News has nothing to do with me or anything that happened involving me," he wrote. "Any claim to the contrary is false.”

Longhurst released a statement days after where he expressed ‘“regret” for the way the segment ended. “I absolutely accept the atrocity in Florida was, of course, an attack on LGBT people, but I was also trying to reflect what was on the newspaper front pages. It was never my intention to offend Owen Jones and I very much look forward to working with him again in future.”

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