Ever the outspoken pundit, Harvard professor Cornel West went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show on Tuesday night and did not hold back. During a segment on defunding the police, West unloaded on civil rights attorney and frequent Fox contributor Leo Terrell.
The sparring match started after Hannity opened up the conversation by rattling off a few of the headlines that deal with extreme cases of police interactions with protesters. He then asked West if he supports “this madness” of defunding the police.
West started his response by recognizing the heaviness of the day, stating that hours before the segment, George Floyd was laid to rest in Houston two weeks after his death at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers. He went on to say that he believes police interactions with protesters and within communities boils down to respect.
“You have to have police who respect the community,” West asserted. “There has to be some community control, accountability of both citizens and police and recognizing that the deeper issues of poverty, dilapidated schools, housing, shattered families, communities, not enough jobs with a living wage—that generates a despair that the police do have to come to terms with. But there has to be democratic control over the police.”
Hannity countered with an oft-used Republican talking point, saying that the majority of liberal cities have for decades been run by Democrats who have allowed the education systems to decline. West concurred in the case of Chicago’s former mayor Rahm Emanuel, of whom he says he was not a fan. But West also stated that it goes beyond that.
When Hannity looked to Terrell to get his take on Democrat-run cities and where they’ve “failed America’s children,” Terrell focused his response on West saying that the professor won’t answer Hannity’s question because he’s just interested in “giving old talking points.” After Terrell told West he wanted to speak to him “Black man to Black man,” the segment went completely left.
West asked Terrell what his talking points are and showed disdain over the fact that the attorney had chosen to “disrespect” him on the day “Brother Floyd is put in his grave.” At one point West asked Terrell who he was tied to and questioned, “Who do you think you are, my brother?” The show had completely gone off the rails by the time West told Terrell, “Check yourself, negro.”
Hannity concluded the interview after Terrell asked several times for producers to cut West’s mic. Earlier in the night, West appeared on Anderson Cooper where the civil rights activist shared his deep respect for the Floyd family and the Black people who have chosen love despite their oppression.