Newsmax anchor Bob Sellers issued an apology after storming out of a live interview with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, as the pro-Trump guest refused to stop pushing conspiracy theories about voter fraud on his show.
The anchor of the conservative news outlet was back on screens on Wednesday, and told viewers he got “frustrated” as his guest continued to veer off topic. Sellers blamed himself in part for the confusion, as he attempted to pacify both viewers and Mr Lindell – who is also one of the channel’s biggest sponsors.
Sellers promised the channel’s viewers that the Trump-supporting pillow-maker would continue to be a regular and “important” guest on the channel.
Mr Lindell had been invited on to Tuesday’s show to discuss “free speech and cancel culture” after his Twitter account was, like that of Donald Trump himself, permanently banned. The executive had repeatedly pushed the former president’s rhetoric over election fraud claims.
But Mr Lindell, who is facing a potential lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over his unsubstantiated claims of machines being rigged, instead used the interview as a platform to again rant about the election.
Sellers repeatedly interrupted Mr Lindell, eventually turning off his microphone, and read a prepared statement to reject Mr Lindell’s election fraud claims before storming off set.
The anchor, who was himself accused of engaging in “cancel culture” by the channel’s pro-Trump audience on social media, said he could have handled things differently.
“If you watched American Agenda yesterday, you may have seen something out of the ordinary happen during an interview with Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow,” Sellers said on Wednesday afternoon. “Mike is a friend of this network, and we were supposed to discuss Twitter’s decision to ban him and the impacts of cancel culture on his business.”
He attributed the incident over confusion about what was supposed to be the topic of the segment.
“Mike thought that we were to talk about vote fraud in the recent election. It’s a topic we have covered extensively on Newsmax,” the host said.
“I was frustrated that we couldn’t focus on the current, very pressing issue of free speech and cancel culture and, in hindsight, there is no question that I could have handled the end of the interview differently,” he added.
Analysts saw Newsmax, which rose to greater prominence after it was praised by Mr Trump for its favourable coverage of his attempts to fight the election result, has dialled down its pro-Trump stance in recent weeks after being threatened with lawsuits.
Two major voting machine companies, Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, have threatened to sue the channel and others accused of promoting false conspiracy theories that damage their reputation.
“We at Newsmax have not been able to verify any of those kinds of allegations,” Sellers said as Mr Lindell again spoke out against Dominion on his show. “We just want to let people know that there’s nothing substantive about them.”
The videos of Sellers’ walkout went viral on social media and drew condemnation from many Trump supporters, some of whom called for the anchor to be fired.
Sellers concluded his apology by saying that Mr Lindell was already back on Newsmax by Tuesday night.
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