The Economist labeled Ben Shapiro an “alt-right sage” in a headline, then apologized after the right-wing pundit protested the characterization.
The British weekly’s apology was added Thursday to a profile about Shapiro that originally carried the headline “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, the alt-right sage without the rage.” It also called Shapiro “a pop idol of the alt right.”
After an exchange on Twitter between Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, and Anne McElvoy, one of the article’s two authors, The Economist changed the headline to “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, a radical conservative.” The apology said the references to the alt-right — a loose right-wing movement that includes white nationalists and anti-Semites — was made “mistakenly,” adding “in fact, he has been strongly critical of the alt-right movement. We apologize.”
Founded in 1843, The Economist is one of the world’s most reputed periodicals.
In the exchange, Shapiro wrote: “This is a vile lie. Not only am I not alt-right, I am probably their leading critic on the right. I was the number one target of their hate in 2016 online according to ADL data. I demand a retraction.”
He added: “If you lump me in with people who are so evil I literally hire security to walk me to shul on Shabbat, you can go straight to hell.”
Shapiro is a regular speaker at universities and other venues. In his talks, he supports gun rights and rejects the notion that transgender people can change their sex, among other beliefs.