Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire arrived at Podcast Movement's Dallas conference this Wednesday, where the outlet has purchased a booth, only to encounter massive backlash from the conference, to the point of being banned.
"Hi folks," Podcast Movement's official Twitter account began in a thread, "we owe you an apology before sessions kick off for the day. Yesterday afternoon, Ben Shapiro briefly visited the PM22 expo area near The Daily Wire booth. Though he was not registered or expected, we take full responsibility for the harm done by his presence."
Podcast Movement apparently believes that Shapiro caused "harm" just by existing. This was Daily Wire's first appearance at Podcast Movement, which featured a substantial amount of producers of left-leaning content.
Bloomberg reported that his appearance was well-received, writing that Shapiro "walked around, mingled with attendees, took some photos and generally became the most recognizable face in the place."
"There’s no way around it," they continued, "We agreed to sell The Daily Wire a first-time booth based on the company’s large presence in podcasting. The weight of that decision is now painfully clear. Shapiro is a co-founder. A drop-in, however unlikely, should have been considered a possibility."
Shapiro responded to Podcast Movement's statement that his very existence in a conference center where his company had purchased a booth caused "harm," saying:
"Literally shaking rn. Podcast Movement is threatening my right to exist. This is erasure."
Shapiro's podcast was the fifth most listened to podcast in July. Daily Wire is the sixth largest publisher in the US and has a monthly audience of over 7 million.
The apology came after podcast producer "Tal," who goes by they/them pronouns and was apparently at Podcast Movement, posted a photo of Shapiro at the conference by the Daily Wire booth, and said "Hey, [Podcast Movement] what the f*ck"
Tal continued to blast Podcast Movement for allowing Shapiro to attend, saying that "As a trans person, as a queer person, as someone with a uterus, this does not make me feel welcome. This does not make me feel safe."
"Just [c]onfirmed with the PodMov team that they did not know Shapiro was attending," Tal wrote later. "(In fact, they were told he was not). Him showing up was the first they knew about it. Does that make everything okay? No. Am I much happier knowing he was not an invited guest? Absolutely."
"Many in our community are appalled not just by this incident," said Podcast Movement, "but by our choice to take money from TDW in the first place. As @amahnke said, 'this was signed off on by a human.' Yes. During event planning, the dangerous nature of the company’s messaging was overlooked," they wrote.
Podcaster Aaron Mahnke slammed Daily Wire, and Podcast Movement for allowing Daily Wire to buy a booth. He said that if he'd been at the conference, he would have left. But he was not at the conference, and Shapiro was.
"And if you’re a friend of mine who’s attending this week, you should consider doing the same. Silence is agreement and complicity," Mahnke said in now-deleted tweets.
"No one *accidentally* takes payment and assigns booth space to a hate speech publishing company. This was signed off on by a human, and that really pisses me off," Mahnke said. He praised Podcast Movement for apologizing, but said further:
"Namely, remove the Daily Wire booth and staff from the conference entirely. They aren’t welcome. Their presence makes every LGBTQ attendee feel unsafe. Refund their dirty money and escort them out."
"Those of you who called this 'unacceptable' are right," Podcast Movement said. "In 9 wonderful years growing and celebrating this medium, PM has made mistakes. The pain caused by this one will always stick with us. We promise that sponsors will be more carefully considered moving forward.
"Just to clarify, no TDW representatives were scheduled to appear on panels, and Shapiro remained in the common space and did not have a badge. If you have questions, we’re here to talk. Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll continue to join us from here on out."
Podcast Movement, nor any of their sponsors, have responded to The Post Millennial's request for comment.
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