As the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was still engulfed in flames, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith cut off a phone interview with an elected French official after he repeatedly suggested, without evidence, that the fire was intentionally set by bad actors.
During breaking news coverage Monday afternoon, Smith brought on Neuilly-sur-Seine deputy mayor Philippe Karsenty, who was at the scene of the fire. Immediately, Karsenty compared the inferno engulfing the iconic church to a terror attack that took thousands of lives.
“It’s like a 9/11, a French 9/11,” Karsenty exclaimed. “It’s a big shock. This church was there for more than 850 years. 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 politically — the political correctness which will tell you it’s probably an accident.”
Smith interjected, telling Karsenty that they weren’t “going to speculate of the cause of something that we don’t know.”
“If you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it,” the Fox News anchor added.
Karsenty, who has a history of pushing far-right Islamophobic conspiracies that led to a defamation conviction, attempted to continue to go down the same conspiratorial rabbit hole, saying he was just telling Smith “we need to be ready.” This prompted Smith to boot Karsenty off the call.
“No, sir, we’re not doing that here, not now, not on my watch,” Smith declared. “The man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire and neither do I.”
He added: “The fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this and conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counterproductive and injurious to society. And those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet.”
As of publication, no visitors or tourists had been injured in the blaze, though French authorities have announced that one firefighter has received serious injuries battling the fire.
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.