Right-wingers at war: Daily Wire reportedly gets gag order against ex-host Candace Owens

The conservative news site allegedly sought to silence its former employee even as it promised to organise a debate with Ben Shapiro

Io Dodds
Saturday 04 May 2024 01:15 BST
Related video: andace Owens says black people are ‘most murderous group in America’

A conservative news site co-founded by Ben Shapiro secretly obtained a gag order against its former host Candace Owens even while publicly negotiating to debate her, according to a new report.

The Daily Wire, which "ended its relationship" with Ms Owens in March after clashes over Israel and antisemitism, has repeatedly said it wants to organise a debate between her and Mr Shapiro.

But on Thursday, the veteran journalist Glenn Greenwald reported that The Daily Wire had persuaded a private arbitrator to ban Ms Owens from publicly disparaging the company, citing her demand for debate as an example.

The company reportedly told the arbitrator that while it did not object to "healthy debate" in principle, her method of requesting and negotiating it constituted a breach of her contract.

"The Daily Wire has ensured that the debate with Owens that they publicly claimed to want could not, in fact, take place," wrote Mr Greenwald, who did not explain the source for his story.

"Any such debate would be in conflict with the gag order they obtained on Owens from expressing any criticisms of the site or of Shapiro."

In response, The Daily Wire's co-CEO Jeremy Boreing told Mr Greenwald that it was "inaccurate to the point of being false", without denying any specific facts.

"I’m sure you can appreciate how fraught a high profile break-up like this is. For that reason, we are trying to resolve our issues with Candace privately," he reportedly added.

Ms Owens told Mr Greenwald: "I wish I could comment on this, but I can't". The Independent has asked both Ms Owens and The Daily Wire for comment.

It marks the latest twist in a long dispute between Ms Owens and Mr Shapiro, which has seen both parties publicly insult and belittle each other since the start of the Hamas-Israel war last October.

Mr Shapiro, who is Jewish and styles himself as a champion of free speech, strongly supports Israel's government and once claimed that Palestinians "like to bomb crap and live in open sewage" (though he later narrowed his remarks to only "Arabs who actively seek Israel's destruction").

Ms Owens, a Black woman who rose to fame by calling on African-Americans and other people of colour to abandon the Democratic Party, has criticised Israel's brutal treatment of Palestinian civilians and the USA's continued willingness to fund it.

However, she has speculated about a "gang" of Jewish criminals manipulating Hollywood and the media, liked antisemitic tweets on X (formerly Twitter), defended antisemitic comments by Kanye West, and claimed that the problem with Hitler was merely that he "had dreams outside of Germany".

Initially, Mr Boreing said that there was still a home for Ms Owens at The Daily Wire.

"Even if we could, we would not fire Candace because of another thing we have in common – a desire not to regulate the speech of our hosts, even when we disagree with them," he wrote last November.

"Candace is paid to give her opinion, not mine or Ben’s. Unless those opinions run afoul of the law or she violates the terms of her contract in some way, her job is secure and she is welcome at Daily Wire."

Mr Greenwald himself is no stranger to controversy. After receiving a Pulitzer Prize for his work with US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden for The Guardian, he founded left-wing investigative news site The Intercept.

In 2020 he resigned from the company after accusing it of politically motivated censorship, and has since become a darling of conservative media outlets for his strident criticism of left-leaning activists, journalists, and politicians.

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