- Eric Bolling, formerly of Fox News, walked out of a BBC debate on Wednesday.
- He was criticised for his defense of Georgia’s new voting restrictions by Aisha Mills.
- “Because I’m white, you think I’m racist? That’s BS. I’m done,” said Bolling.
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Eric Bolling walked out a BBC interview Wednesday after an exchange with political commentator Aisha Mills about new laws in Georgia restricting access to voting.
In the debate on the BBC’s “Newsnight” program, Bolling said the decision by some corporations to speak out against the new restrictions could lead to boycotts from Republicans and end up impacting Black communities economically.
Bolling was a longtime Fox personality until 2017, when he left the company after being accused of sexual harassment.
In response to his claim on “Newsnight,” Mills responded: “I think it’s really rich for any Republican, especially a white man, to run around and claim they care about the economic condition of Black communities and Black businesses when that’s all a lie.”
“That is not fair!” Bolling said. “You don’t know me. You don’t know who I am.”
-BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) April 7, 2021
“I am a Black person in America,” Mills said. “Everything these voting laws stand for and what they look like is reminiscent of the Jim Crow policies that my family lived under. So this is all about racial discrimination.
“And how dare you try to act like you are somehow a proponent of Black people and businesses just to make a point and try to create a wedge? It’s ignorant and it’s just disrespectful.”
At this point, Bolling tried to cut the interview short.
“You know what? That’s disgusting,” Bolling replied. “I’m done. Put me off. That’s disgusting. I am nowhere near anything you are painting me to be, and the problem with American politics is exactly that. Because I’m white, you think I’m racist? That’s BS. I’m done.”
Host Emily Maitlis tried to persuade Bolling to stay for another question, and he agreed on the condition that Mills apologise.
“I’m not going to apologize for being offended,” Mills replied, as Maitlis tried to get the interview back on track.
At which point Bolling left for good, saying again “I’m done.”
The Georgia voting laws have been the subject of intense controversy since being signed into law by state governor Brian Kemp in March, with President Joe Biden likening them to the Jim Crow laws that once enforced racial segregation in the South.
The laws make absentee voting harder, and create new restrictions that will disproportionately affect Black voters.
They were passed by the GOP-controlled state Congress in the wake of Biden’s victory in the state in last year’s presidential election, and Georgia Republicans in January losing both the state’s US Senate seats to Democrats.
Companies including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, major employers in the state, have spoken out against the proposed changes, and the MLB cancelled an All Stars game in protest.
Republicans have defended the laws, with Kemp pointing to the Democratic-controlled states of New York and Delaware that have more restrictive voting laws than Georgia. He said the new laws expand access to voting and ensure greater election security.