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Hartley-Brewer TV show row with Palestinian MP attracts almost 17,000 complaints

Julia Hartley-Brewer’s heated exchange with a Palestinian MP on her TalkTV show has received more than a thousand additional complaints, raising the total to nearly 17,000.

The broadcaster, 55, was discussing the Hamas-Israel war with Dr Mustafa Barghouti on January 3 after a senior official in the militant group Hamas, Saleh Arouri, was killed.

In a clip of the interview shared by TalkTV, Hartley-Brewer can be seen getting more agitated with her guest and accused him of not letting her “finish a sentence”.

As he discussed the role of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, she interjected saying: “We haven’t got time to do the entire history of Benjamin Netanyahu who is not a popular figure in Israel.”

She added that she was “not here to defend” Mr Netanyahu and was frustrated that Mr Barghouti was repeating himself.

The presenter continued: “Please don’t say that again, we don’t have time for that, you’ve made that point five times already.”

After he began speaking again, she lost her cool and exclaimed: “For the love of God, let me finish a sentence, man.”

She added: “Maybe you’re not used to women talking, I don’t know, but I’d like to finish the sentence, sir.”

He replied: “You are misleading the public.”

In last week’s report, Ofcom revealed the episode had received 15,536 complaints related to Hartley-Brewer’s interview with Mr Barghouti.

On Wednesday’s update, the media watchdog confirmed that a further 1,414 had been made, bringing the total to 16,950.

The complaints are currently being assessed by Ofcom against their broadcast rules.

Hartley-Brewer has continued to present on TalkTV following the January 3 interview and the complaints.

The volume of complaints received for Hartley-Brewer’s interview so far is almost double compared to the most complained about programme last year.

Laurence Fox’s “misogynistic comments” about female journalist Ava Evans, in which he asked “who would want to shag that?”, claimed the top spot in 2023 with 8,867 complaints made against the episode of Dan Wootton Tonight programme on GB News.

Fox and presenter Wootton, who both later apologised, were suspended by the channel after the broadcast and Fox has since been sacked from the channel while a probe by Ofcom into the episode is ongoing.