Fox News’ Shepard Smith on Monday shut down Philippe Karsenty, a prominent French political gadfly, for suggesting the fire consuming Notre Dame was deliberately set.
“Everybody’s really under shock now in France. I would tell you something, even if nobody died, it’s like a 9/11, a French 9/11,” Karsenty said of the centuries-old cathedral. “You need to know that for the past years, we’ve had churches desecrated each and every week all over France. Of course, you will hear the story of the political correctness, which will tell you it’s probably an accident.”
“Sir, sir, sir, we’re not going to speculate here of the cause of something that we don’t know,” replied an audibly angry Smith. “If you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it.”
“I’m just telling you something, what we need to be ready — ” Karsenty protested, but Smith shut him down completely, hung up the phone, and proceeded to publicly call out his guest as a liar.
“No, sir, we’re not doing that here. Not now, not on my watch,” Smith said. “The man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire, and neither do I.”
“Fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this,” Smith continued. “Conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counter-productive and injurious to society. Those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet.”
Karsenty has a long history of problematic statements. He was convicted of libel in 2013, and after investigators discovered “funding irregularities” in his campaign for office in 2013, he was banned from running again for a year.
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