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Ben Shapiro

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Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro june 26 2016 cropped retouched.jpg
Shapiro in 2016
Born Benjamin Aaron Shapiro
(1984-01-15) January 15, 1984 (age 34)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (BA)
Harvard Law School (JD)
Occupation Political commentator, columnist, author, radio talk show host, lawyer
Movement Conservatism
Spouse(s) Mor Toledano (m. 2008)
Children 2
Relatives Mara Wilson (cousin)[1]
Ben Shapiro Signature.svg

Benjamin Aaron Shapiro (/ʃəˈpɪər/; born January 15, 1984) is an American conservative political commentator and writer. He has written seven books, the first being 2004's Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth, which he started writing when he was 17 years old. Also at age 17, he became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the country.[2][3] Shapiro writes a column for Creators Syndicate, serves as editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, which he founded, and hosts a daily political podcast and radio show called The Ben Shapiro Show. He is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the media watchdog group TruthRevolt.[4]

Early life

Shapiro was born in Los Angeles, California. His family is Jewish, having immigrated in part from Russia. Skipping two grades (third and ninth), Shapiro went from Walter Reed Middle School to Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles where he graduated in 2000 at age 16.[5][2] He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004, at age 20, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and then cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2007.[6] He then practiced law at Goodwin Procter. As of March 2012 he ran an independent legal consultancy firm, Benjamin Shapiro Legal Consulting, in Los Angeles.[2]


Shapiro speaking at the 2018 CPAC in National Harbor, Maryland

As author

Shapiro became interested in politics at a young age. He started a nationally syndicated column when he was 17 and had written two books by age 21.[7]

In his 2004 book Brainwashed, Shapiro argues that students are not exposed to a variety of viewpoints at universities and that those who do not have strong opinions will be overwhelmed by an atmosphere dominated by liberal instructors even if discussion is encouraged in classrooms.[8]

In 2011, HarperCollins published Shapiro's fourth book, Primetime Propaganda The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV, in which Shapiro argues that Hollywood has a left-wing agenda which it actively promotes through prime-time entertainment programming. In the book, the producers of Happy Days and M*A*S*H say they pursued a pro-pacifist, anti-Vietnam agenda in those series.[9] The same year Primetime Propaganda came out, Shapiro became a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.[10]

In 2013, Threshold Editions published Shapiro's fifth book, Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans.[11]

As a journalist

On October 7, 2013, Shapiro co-founded the TruthRevolt U.S. news and activism website in association with the David Horowitz Freedom Center. As of March 7, 2018, TruthRevolt "closed up shop".[12] In 2012, Shapiro became editor-at-large of Breitbart News, a news and opinion website founded by Andrew Breitbart.[13] In March 2016, Shapiro resigned from his position as editor-at-large of Breitbart News following what he characterized as the website's lack of support for reporter Michelle Fields in response to her alleged assault by Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's former campaign manager.[14][15]

Shapiro founded The Daily Wire on September 21, 2015. He is editor-in-chief as well as a host of his online political podcast The Ben Shapiro Show, broadcast every weekday.[16] As of November 2017, the podcast was downloaded 10 million times each month.[17] Westwood One began syndicating The Ben Shapiro Show to radio in 2018.[18]

On February 7, 2013, Shapiro published an article citing unspecified Senate sources who said that a group named "Friends of Hamas" was among foreign contributors to the political campaign of Chuck Hagel, a former U.S. Senator awaiting confirmation as Secretary of Defense as a nominee of President Barack Obama, but weeks later Slate reporter David Weigel reported there was no evidence such a group existed.[19] Shapiro told Weigel that the story he published was "the entirety of the information [he] had."[20][21][22]

By 2016 he was one of the hosts for KRLA's "The Morning Answer", a conservative radio show. Internal emails showed that Shapiro faced pressure from Salem Media executives, the syndicate that owned the show, to be more supportive of Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Shapiro however remained highly critical of Trump throughout the election.[23]

Shapiro's views have been described by The New York Times as "extremely conservative". He accuses contemporary liberals of creating an imaginary "hierarchy of victimhood" and glorifying perceived victims, leading to identity politics; The Times describes this as his central talking point.[17] He believes, as he has argued in one of his books, that the left has used its dominance of cinema and TV to push its agenda.[17] He also believes that the election of Donald Trump was more a vote against liberals, and Hillary Clinton in particular, than in favor of Trump's brand of conservatism.[17]

Shapiro believes that African-Americans were historically victims of injustice in the United States, but that they are not victims of widespread systemic injustice today.[17] As of November 2017, he supported lowering taxes on the very wealthy.[17] He is in favor of privatizing social security, criminalizing abortion, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.[17]

Campus lectures

Shapiro frequently speaks at a number of college campuses across the country, often to present his conservative viewpoint on more controversial subjects. He spoke at 37 campuses between early 2016 and late 2017.[17]

University of Missouri

Shapiro at the University of Missouri in November 2015

In November 2015, in the wake of the protests at the University of Missouri, Shapiro was invited by the campus's chapter of the College Republicans, in conjunction with Young America's Foundation, to speak at the university. The speech, entitled "The Truth is a Microaggression", was critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, safe spaces, microaggressions, and other aspects of American college campuses and the behavior of modern college students.[24] The theater in which he spoke was filled to capacity as over 400 people attended, and the live-stream of the event was viewed by more than 130,000 people.[25]

California State University, Los Angeles

On February 25, 2016, Shapiro gave a speech at California State University, Los Angeles, entitled "When Diversity Becomes a Problem". Shapiro's speech focused on how the concepts of microaggressions and safe spaces were being used to suppress free speech in the name of diversity of skin color, while ignoring the value of diversity of thought.[26] In response to the announcement of the speech, hosted by the campus's chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, student protesters demanded that the speech be cancelled, labeling it as "hate speech". The university's president, William Covino, eventually announced the cancellation of the speech three days before it was to take place, with the intention of rescheduling it so that the event could feature Shapiro debating someone with opposing viewpoints.[27] In response to the cancellation, Shapiro said he would be attending the event anyway, and several lawsuits were threatened against the university for canceling the speech. As a result, Covino ultimately backed down and allowed the speech to go on as planned.[28]

The day of the speech, hundreds of student protesters formed human chains to block the doors to the theater where the event was to be held, shoving away anyone who attempted to enter and starting several fights in the crowded lobby. Some students were ultimately able to enter the theater by being sneaked in through back doors, though the protesters soon found out and barricaded those doors as well. Shapiro eventually made it into the theater and began his speech, only for a fire alarm to be pulled by one of the protesters; Shapiro continued speaking regardless, calling Covino "cowardly" and referring to the protesters as "spoiled brat snowflakes" and "fascists".[29] After the speech ended, Shapiro had to be escorted out a secret exit by police and his own bodyguards, while those inside the theater were told that they could not leave since the protesters were preventing anyone from leaving. Only after Shapiro left did the protesters eventually disperse, and those inside the theater were allowed to exit.[30]

Three months after the CSULA incident, Young America's Foundation announced on May 19 that it was filing a lawsuit against the university (with Shapiro as one of the plaintiffs), claiming that the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the students were violated by Covino's attempted cancelation of the event, as well as the physical barricading of students from entering or leaving the event, and the encouragement of such actions by several campus professors.[31][32][33]

DePaul University

On November 15, 2016, Shapiro was invited to speak at DePaul University, at an event hosted by the school's chapters of the College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom. The event also featured feminist professor Christina Hoff Sommers and had a focus on the subject of free speech on American college campuses, particularly in the wake of the recent election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. However, partially due to a previous controversy when Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at DePaul several months prior, the university officially banned Shapiro from attending the event, as a speaker or an audience member. Shapiro vowed to appear at the event regardless.[34] Upon his arrival, he was blocked from entering the venue by a DePaul public safety officer, who informed Shapiro that he would be arrested if he tried to enter the hall.[35] Shapiro then called Sommers, who was speaking during the event at that moment, and informed her that he would move to another building nearby where he would be allowed to speak. Sommers and the audience subsequently moved to that building to join Shapiro.[36]

University of California, Berkeley

On September 14, 2017, Shapiro gave a speech at the invitation of the UC (Berkeley) student organization Berkeley College Republicans where he criticized identity politics along with those who use violence to suppress contrary views, whom he characterized as fascistic.[37][38] The event involved a large police presence which had been promised by Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ in her August letter that supported free speech. Together, the University and the city of Berkeley spent $600,000 on police and security for the event, which transpired with nine arrests but no major incident.[39][40]

Target of antisemitism

In May 2016 New York magazine reported: "Shapiro [...] has increasingly found himself targeted by the so-called alt-right movement, a loose conglomeration of online personalities—many if not most of them anonymous—currently devoted to tweeting and posting their support for Donald Trump and attacking those who disagree, often in racist and anti-Semitic ways. They have been denigrating Shapiro as a 'pussy,' a 'cuck,' and — inevitably, given the nature of this movement — a 'Jew' and a 'kike.'"[41]

In an article in National Review, Shapiro wrote: "I've experienced more pure, unadulterated anti-Semitism since coming out against Trump's candidacy than at any other time in my political career. Trump supporters have threatened me and other Jews who hold my viewpoint. They've blown up my e-mail inbox with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. They greeted the birth of my second child by calling for me, my wife, and two children to be thrown into a gas chamber."[42]

An article in The Washington Post quoted an Anti-Defamation League report that "focused in particular on the anti-Semitic tweets aimed at journalists, frequently those whose writing about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has displeased a large contingent of Twitter users who band together to attack these journalists online. The words most commonly found in the bios of the people who post these anti-Semitic attacks? 'Trump,' 'nationalist,' 'conservative,' 'American' and 'white' ... The target of the most anti-Semitic tweets, by far, was Ben Shapiro, a conservative writer who formerly worked for Breitbart and who does not support Trump."[43]

Personal life

Shapiro has three sisters. In 2008, he married Mor Toledano, an Israeli citizen of Moroccan descent.[44] Shapiro and his wife practice Orthodox Judaism.[45][46] Together, they have a daughter, born in 2014,[47] and a son, born in 2016.[48]


See also


  1. ^ McNamara, Neal (January 24, 2014). "Justin Bieber a symptom of a big problem". KTTH. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ben Shapiro: Proud Torah-Observant Jew and Rising Star in America's Conservative Movement" (PDF), Zman Magazine, March 2012, archived (PDF) from the original on February 1, 2017 
  3. ^ Spencer Brown (July 11, 2017) Ben Shapiro Partners with YAF to Affirm Students' Free Speech Rights at Berkeley Amid Lawsuit Archived September 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine., YAF
  4. ^ Adams, T. Becket (April 30, 2015). "Ben Shapiro out, TruthRevolt in turmoil as Horowitz denies shutdown reports". The Washington Examiner. Archived from the original on December 13, 2015. Retrieved January 7, 2016. 
  5. ^ Pope, Justin (June 10, 2004). "School liberalism blasted". Deseret News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Ben Shapiro". Simon & Schuster. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ Harris, Dan; Torres, Ignacio; Effron, Lauren (October 21, 2017). "Conservative commentator on future of free speech on campus". ABC News. Retrieved April 29, 2018. 
  8. ^ Hsu, Charlotte (May 10, 2004). "Book misconstrues facts". The Daily Bruin. UCLA. Archived from the original on June 4, 2004. Retrieved June 10, 2018. 
  9. ^ Lawson, Mark (June 29, 2011). "Is US TV too leftwing?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  10. ^ Glazov, Jamie (May 31, 2011). "Primetime Propaganda". FrontPage Magazine. Archived from the original on February 24, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ búsqueda, Resultados de (July 8, 2014). "Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans". Threshold ed. Retrieved April 20, 2018 – via Amazon. 
  12. ^ "Announcement:TruthRevolt Closing up shop". March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018. 
  13. ^ Weigel, David (March 21, 2012). "Meet the Breitbarts". Slate. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ Vinograd, Cassandra. "Breitbart's Michelle Fields, Ben Shapiro Resign Over Trump Incident". NBC News. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Breitbart reporter, editor resign over response to alleged assault by Trump campaign manager". Fox News. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Ben Shapiro's Astonishing Success". National Review. August 8, 2017. Archived from the original on August 12, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Tavernise, Sabrina (November 23, 2017). "Ben Shapiro, A Provocative 'Gladiator,' Battles to Win Young Conservatives". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018. 
  18. ^ Schwartz, Jason. "Ben Shapiro to take his podcast to radio". POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-04-28. 
  19. ^ Weigel, David (February 20, 2013). ""Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist". Slate. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ Christopher, Tommy (February 20, 2013). "Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Ducks Questions On 'Fox And Friends Of Hamas'". Mediaite. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  21. ^ Christopher, Tommy (February 21, 2013). "The Young Turks Guest Catches Breitbart News'= Ben Shapiro In 'Friends Of Hamas' Lie". Mediaite. Archived from the original on June 27, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  22. ^ Trotter, J.K (February 20, 2013). "'Friends of Hamas' Rumor Debunked by Reporter Who Accidentally Started It". The Atlantic Wire. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ Darcy, Hadas Gold and Oliver. "Salem executives pressured radio hosts to cover Trump more positively, emails show". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  24. ^ "University of Missouri Audience Applauds as Ben Shapiro Rips Aggressive Professor". Breitbart. Archived from the original on March 20, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Conservative Commentator Crashes Mizzou Safe Space". The Daily Signal. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Ben Shapiro Torches Cal State LA Faculty in 'Diversity' Speech". Breitbart. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. 
  27. ^ "University President Shuts Down Conservative Journalist's Speech, Citing "Free Exchange of Ideas"". Mediaite. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. 
  28. ^ "In Reversal, Cal State LA President Allows Conservative Pundit Ben Shapiro to Speak at Campus Event". KTLA 5. Archived from the original on February 26, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Shapiro Speech at Cal State Marred by Blockaded Doors". The Daily Caller. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Ben Shapiro escorted by police from CSULA due to angry protesters". ABC 7. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. 
  31. ^ "YAF files lawsuit against CSULA over canceling Ben Shapiro event". Red Alert Politics. Archived from the original on May 22, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Calif. University Sued for Violating Conservatives' Freedom of Speech". Mediaite. Archived from the original on May 21, 2016. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  33. ^ "CSULA sued over conservative author's protest-ridden speech". MyNewsLA. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  34. ^ Emily Zanotti (November 14, 2016). "Defiant Ben Shapiro will appear at DePaul University despite ban". Fox News. Archived from the original on November 18, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Editorial: How DePaul students missed out on a timely lesson about Trump". Chicago Tribune. November 16, 2016. Archived from the original on May 18, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2017. 
  36. ^ "How DePaul students missed out on a timely lesson about Trump". Chicago Tribune. November 17, 2016. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  37. ^ Allison Kaplan Sommer (September 15, 2017). "Jewish Conservative Ben Shapiro to Antifa Protesters at UC Berkeley: 'Go to Hell, You Lying, Stupid Jackasses'". Haaretz. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Shaprio event goes off with barely a hitch". Berkeley News. September 14, 2017. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  39. ^ Steinmetz, Katy (September 14, 2017). "'The University Has Coddled Students Too Long.' Conservative Firebrand Roils Berkeley". Time. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  40. ^ Panzar, Javier; Tchekmedyian, Alene (September 15, 2017). "9 arrested as protesters gather at UC Berkeley for talk by conservative speaker Ben Shapiro". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 15, 2017. Retrieved September 16, 2017. 
  41. ^ Explaining Ben Shapiro’s Messy, Ethnic-Slur-Laden Breakup With Breitbart Archived November 8, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. New York (May 26, 2016). Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  42. ^ Donald Trump’s Anti-Semitic Supporters Archived October 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. National Review (May 18, 2016). Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  43. ^ "In 2016, people have read anti-Semitic tweets 10 billion times, many from Trump supporters" Archived October 21, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  44. ^ Shapiro, Ben, Twitter, archived from the original on March 8, 2018 
  45. ^ Glazov, Jamie (May 13, 2004). "Brainwashed". Front Page Magazine. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  46. ^ Mor Toledo, first in class to find perfect match, HSJ, archived from the original on January 28, 2013 
  47. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 5, 2014). "Letter to My Newborn Daughter". Townhall. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  48. ^ @benshapiro (May 7, 2016). "With infinite gratitude to God, we're overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning!" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 

External links