Al Jazeera Host Mehdi Hasan Apologizes for Past Criticisms of Non-Believers

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Al Jazeera host Mehdi Hasan apologized over the weekend for remarks made a number of years ago that disparaged LGBT people and non-Muslims.

“Like a lot of journos (humans?) I’ve said things years ago that I now deeply regret. Chief among them for me is, more than a decade ago, in my 20s, when I wasn’t a public figure, I gave a bunch of speeches to students on Islam/extremism. And I said dumb offensive ranty stuff,” he said in a Twitter thread on Monday.

“Speaking without notes, & trying to be bombastic, I made stupid sweeping remarks about non-Muslims, especially atheists. I cringe now when I rehear/reread those remarks. I made stupid offensive analogies to animals. Argh. I’m embarrassed to have to write about all this again,” the thread continued. “But I don’t want to defend/explain today. I just want to say, I’m sorry.”

Hasan currently hosts Al Jazeera’s English-language programs “Upfront” and “Head to Head.”

Also Read: How Disney Could Shake Up Fox Film Slate, Starting With Brad Pitt’s ‘Ad Astra’

In old recordings that resurfaced this week but have percolated for years, Hasan compared non-Muslims and atheists to “cattle” and included “homosexuals” in a long list of behaviors and categories which he said argued were transgressive of Islam.

“All of these ulama unanimously agree that at the very minimum if Yazid was not a Kaffir — then at the very minimum he was a fasiq, a transgressor, a breaker of Islamic laws, a corrupt individual, a tyrant, a killer a drunkard, a dog lover, a music lover, a homosexual, a pedophile, a sexual deviant, someone who slept with his own mother,” Hasan says in an old recording of what appears to be a sermon on Islamic law.

“In this respect the Koran describes the atheist as cattle. As cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world,” he said at another moment.

You can listen to his statements here. 

Hasan, who also works as a columnist for the liberal website The Intercept, said he was inspired to raise the issue of his own past remarks after the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this month that left 50 dead.

“I have always regretted the dumb and offensive comments I made in my 20s, on atheism and homosexuality. They still embarrass me, but they haven’t been representative of my beliefs for over a decade,” he told TheWrap in an additional statement. “Rather than bury them, I chose to raise them myself in a Twitter thread over the weekend to try and urge us all to reckon with our prejudices and to challenge hate speech – whether witting or unwitting – wherever we find it.”

Hasan also noted that he has previously addressed his past remarks in pieces for both the Huffington Post and New Statesman.

Reps for Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to request for comment. In a statement, The Intercept said they stood behind their columnist as well and applauded his decision to face his past remarks.

“Mehdi Hasan is a highly accomplished and deeply principled journalist and political commentator. We applaud his decision to put out a reflective and self-critical series of tweets over the weekend, showing regret and contrition for remarks he made more than a decade ago, when he was in his twenties and not a public figure,” they said. “We stand by him and his trailblazing journalism and podcasting for The Intercept, where he has used his platform to defend universal human rights and to denounce bigotry of all kinds, including anti-Semitism, homophobia, white nationalism, and Muslim extremism.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jeanine Pirro’s Show Off Fox News Schedule for a 2nd Week

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Out Fox News for Mispronouncing Her Name

American Muslim Group Calls for Advertisers to Drop Fox News Unless Jeanine Pirro, Tucker Carlson Are Fired

Fox News, Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire Dominate Facebook’s Most Popular Stories of 2019

Tech Giants and Billionaires Who Have Bought Up Legacy Media, From Marc Benioff to Jeff Bezos (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

As Silicon Valley executives and heavyweights have gotten richer and more influential, there’s been a recent trend of these same individuals stepping into the realm of news media, often without any media or publishing experience. Their deep pocke…

First Look Media Hires Ex-AwesomenessTV Exec Drew Wilson As CFO

Read on: Deadline.

First Look Media, the company behind the entertainment studio and journalism outfits Topic and The Intercept and Field of Vision, has hired Drew Wilson as Chief Financial Officer. He most recently worked as CFO as AwesomenessTV, and before that at Robert Johnson’s RLJ Entertainment and Discovery Communications.
At First Look, Wilson will oversee finance, strategic planning and business development for the multifaceted media company. He will be based at the company’s New…

Senator Bernie Sanders Is First Guest For Mehdi Hasan Podcast ‘Deconstructed’

Read on: Deadline.

Attention, Bernie Bros: former presidential challenger and Senator Bernie Sanders will be the first guest on the new podcast Deconstructed, hosted by British journalist and author Mehdi Hasan and sponsored by The Intercept news organization. Hasan will also join The Intercept’s staff as a columnist and senior contributor.
The new podcast is envisioned as unpacking the consequential news of the week and challenging the mainstream media’s takes on American and global…

Senator Bernie Sanders Is First Guest For Mehdi Hasan Podcast ‘Deconstructed’

Read on: Deadline.

Attention, Bernie Bros: former presidential challenger and Senator Bernie Sanders will be the first guest on the new podcast Deconstructed, hosted by British journalist and author Mehdi Hasan and sponsored by The Intercept news organization. Hasan will also join The Intercept’s staff as a columnist and senior contributor.
The new podcast is envisioned as unpacking the consequential news of the week and challenging the mainstream media’s takes on American and global…

NSA Contractor Charged for Leaking Russian Hacking Intel to News Site

Read on: Variety.

On the same day that The Intercept published details from a classified intelligence report on Russian efforts to hack U.S. voting systems just days before the November election, a federal contractor was charged with leaking the material. Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, was charged with removing classified material from… Read more »

Glenn Greenwald’s the Intercept Unionizes With Writers Guild of America East

Read on: Variety.

The Intercept, the investigative journalism site founded by Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, has voluntarily recognized the Writers Guild of America East as the collective bargaining representative of its 32-member staff. The guild said the Intercept’s decision to recognize the union came after a card check confirmed that a majority of the Intercept’s staff signed… Read more »