A newly-released video purporting to show MAGA commentator Steven Crowder yelling at his wife for failing to do her "wifely duties" and threatening her to " f***ing watch it" when she accused him of "abuse" is the latest detail in a messy intra-conservative media battle that has become increasingly personal in recent weeks.
The video was released on the heels of Crowder announcing that he and his wife, Hilary, were in the midst of a divorce. Shortly after Crowder's video explaining the divorce — which included complaints that divorce is legal in Texas — journalist Yashar Ali posted security footage he says shows Crowder berating his then-pregnant wife.
In the video, the man purported to be Crowder is sitting and smoking a cigar or cigarette while Hilary — 8-weeks pregnant — is standing and asking to use the car to go grocery shopping. Crowder allegedly tells her she can't, because then he would be stuck at home and would not be able to go to the gym.
He then allegedly criticises her for not doing her "wifely duties" and insists she give their dog medicine that she fears could be toxic for their unborn child if she absorbs it through her skin.
Hilary, who Ali says provided him the Ring camera video after Crowder spoke publicly about their divorce despite her allegedly asking him not to do so, appears emotionally distraught throughout the footage. She eventually tells the man that "I love you ... but your abuse is sick."
"Watch it. F***ing watch it," Crowder allegedly replies in the footage.
The Independent has contacted both Steven and Hilary Crowder for comment.
Crowder issued a response to the video on Friday afternoon.
"However, due to recent misleadingly edited leaks to the tabloid press, without context and not subject to consequences of the court ... well, if not privacy, the next best option is truth. And so today, I have filed a motion to officially unseal all files as they relate to the matter of legal record. Finances, relevant medical records including mental health history or evaluations, depositions, and any motions or sanctions from the courts of Texas," he wrote on Twitter. "I will NOT be leaking private marital information to the press, but if the privacy agreements are not respected by all parties, I will address all that is a matter of irrefutable legal record, in full context, next week."
Neither Steven nor Hilary Crowder have accused each other of committing acts of physical abuse. However, Ali claims Hilary’s family provided him with a statement saying Crowder lied about the nature of the couple’s divorce and was not present for the birth of their children.
On Tuesday, Crowder announced his divorce on his podcast — which has previously been suspended from YouTube for hate speech — and insisted there was no abuse and no infidelity that led to the separation.
Throughout the segment, he laments that Texas state law allows his wife to walk out on their marriage. He has previously complained about "no-fault" divorces — in which one partner leaves another despite there being no abuse or infidelity — and compared his situation to "living with a proverbial boot on my neck."
“No, this was not my choice,” Crowder said on Tuesday. “My then-wife decided that she didn’t want to be married anymore and in the state of Texas, that is completely permitted.” He insisted that the situation was “not [his] choice,” and that his ex-wife “simply wanted out and the law says that that’s how it works.”
He ultimately concludes that his divorce was his fault because "I picked wrong," referring to his wife.
Crowder's content is largely a mix of MAGA culture war rhetoric, debates with college students, transphobia, "comedy" bits — including one in which he tries to steal labour from immigrants by underbidding them for jobs — and numerous instances of him dressing in drag.
The podcaster said he was initially reticent to speak about his divorce to protect his children's privacy, but said he felt forced to speak up due to criticism he was facing from other right-wing figures. The video then cuts to footage of The Daily Wire's Candace Owens, who previously released a video suggesting something was “going on” with the podcaster, saying “his actions are a symptom of something much larger … Steven has a lot going on, I guess is the best way to say it.”
“I do not think it is my place to say more than that — well, probably what I should say is I’m unsure if at this moment it is my place to say more than that,” she says in the video. “Maybe if I feel in further defense something should be said or maybe if I feel the public has a right to understand certain circumstances, but at this moment I would like to carefully back out.”
Her video was a response to an unrelated controversy earlier this year in which Crowder publicly complained that the Daily Wire offered him a "slave wage" contract — later revealed to be $50m — to bring his show to their company. He played a phone call he recorded of his business discussions with the Daily Wire, which infuriated fellow right-wing content creator and company co-founder, Ben Shapiro, as well as Owens.
She asks that her audience "pray" for Crowder and not condemn him, and later says that he "purports" to be a Christian.
Alongside Crowder's MAGA-centric content, he has also long been a proponent for conservative Christian marriage values. He formerly ran an abstinence column and penned a widely-mocked editorial about waiting to have sex until his marriage night which included denigrations of individuals who do not share his beliefs.
When discussing his own divorce and the fact that no-fault divorces are legal, he lamented "my beliefs don't matter."
The Independent has reached out to Owens for comment.
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