Ben Shapiro

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Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro by Gage Skidmore.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 University (JD)
Occupation Political commentator, author, radio talk show host, lawyer
Spouse(s) Mor Toledano (m. 2008)
Children 2
Relatives Mara Wilson (cousin)[1]

Benjamin Aaron Shapiro (born January 15, 1984) is an American conservative political commentator, columnist, author, radio talk show host, and lawyer.

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.[2] Also at age 17, he became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the country.[3][4] He writes a column for Creators Syndicate, serves as editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire, which he founded, and hosts a daily political podcast called The Ben Shapiro Show. He is the co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the media watchdog group TruthRevolt.[5]

Early life

Shapiro was born in Los Angeles, California. His family is Jewish, having immigrated in part from Russia.[6] Skipping two grades (third and ninth), Shapiro went from Walter Reed Middle School[7] to Yeshiva University High School of Los Angeles where he graduated in 2000 at age 16.[8][3] 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.[9] He then practiced law at Goodwin Procter. Today he runs an independent legal consultancy firm, Benjamin Shapiro Legal Consulting, in Los Angeles.[3]

Writing career

Ben Shapiro at the University of Missouri in November 2015

At age 17, while a student at UCLA, Ben Shapiro became the youngest nationally syndicated columnist in the United States, which under California law required his parents to sign the contract. By age 21, he had written two books, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America's Youth and Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future.

In his 2004 book Brainwashed:

Shapiro insists that students aren’t exposed to a variety of viewpoints at universities and that those who don’t have strong opinions will be overwhelmed by an atmosphere dominated by liberal instructors even if discussion is encouraged in classrooms.[10]

His third book, Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House, was published by Thomas Nelson in 2008.

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 admit they pursued a pro-pacifist, anti-Vietnam agenda in those series.[11] The same year Primetime Propaganda came out, Shapiro became a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.[12]

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

On October 7, 2013, Shapiro co-founded the TruthRevolt media watchdog website in association with the David Horowitz Freedom Center. The site was intended to be a conservative counterpart to Media Matters for America.[13] Shapiro resigned as the site's editor-in-chief in April 2015.[5]

In 2012, Shapiro became editor-at-large of Breitbart News, a news and opinion website founded by Andrew Breitbart.[14] 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.[15][16]

The Daily Wire

Shapiro founded The Daily Wire in 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.[17]

"Friends of Hamas" story

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. In the article, Shapiro criticized the Obama administration for ignoring his questions about Hagel's foreign associations and called for full disclosure of Hagel's foreign ties.[18]

On February 20, Slate reporter David Weigel reported that he could not find any convincing evidence "Friends of Hamas" actually existed, based on personal interviews with Senate staffers, the conservative Center for Security Policy, and the US Treasury Department Terror Sponsors list.[19] Shapiro told Weigel that the story he published was "the entirety of the information [he] had."[20]

Subsequently, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman reported on February 20 that he may have been the unwitting source of the "Friends of Hamas" allegation. Friedman said that the story arose in the course of questioning Republican aides over Hagel's connections to foreign terrorist groups, presuming that one of the aides had interpreted his asking about such political connections as evidence of their existence.[21] Shapiro responded by reporting that his source had averred that Friedman was not a source.[22][23]

Perspective on Israel

Shapiro has written that the Obama administration lacked sufficient support for Israel.[24] He has also criticized the passage of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly referred to as the Iran Deal, believing it would threaten the existence of Israel.[25]

In a column for in 2003, during the Second Intifada, Shapiro proposed expelling the Palestinian population from the West Bank, writing, "The Jews don't realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. … After World War II, Poland was recreated by the Allied Powers. … Anywhere from 3.5 million to 9 million Germans were forcibly expelled from the new Polish territory and relocated in Germany. … The Germans accepted the new border, and decades of conflict between Poles and Germans ended. … If Germans, who had a centuries-old connection to the newly created Polish territory, could be expelled, then surely Palestinians, whose claim to Judea, Samaria and Gaza is dubious at best, can be expelled."[26] Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg said, "this was the position of the extremist Meir Kahane, who was banned by the Israeli Supreme Court from participating in Israeli politics because of his racist views."[27]

A decade later, however, Shapiro reversed his position. In an article published on March 13, 2013, Shapiro wrote, "Some on the right have proposed population transfer from the Gaza Strip or West Bank as a solution. This is both inhumane and impractical. Moving millions of Palestinians out of areas they have known for their entire lives will certainly not pave the way to peace" and while "both right and left agree that a population separation is necessary," he proposes that Israel "has no choice but to weather [the anti-Israeli propaganda]" until a realistic solution comes to light.[28]

UCLA BDS proposal

On February 25, 2014, the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) convened to consider a resolution for the university to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement. Shapiro appeared at his alma mater to deliver counterarguments to the resolution. Shapiro argued that the resolution constituted hypocrisy and selective moral outrage in targeting Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians, which he described as far less egregious than the human rights violations carried out by other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and by groups such as the Palestinians themselves. He pointed to the differences between Israel and the rest of the countries in the Middle East as it relates to the treatment of sexual and religious freedom and diversity, and made the claim that the BDS Movement is fueled not by true concern for human rights but instead by antisemitism.[29] Following Shapiro's comments, the resolution was rejected. However, the Undergraduate Student Association Council eventually passed a BDS resolution in November, although UCLA did not adopt the measures proposed. The university has repeatedly stated it has no intention of divesting from any Israeli or Israel related companies.[30]

Legal career

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2007, Shapiro practiced law at the Los Angeles office of Goodwin Procter LLP. Today, he does independent legal consulting for major media clients.[3]

Campus lectures

Shapiro frequently speaks at a number of college campuses across the country, often to present his conservative viewpoint on more controversial subjects.

University of Missouri

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.[31] 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.[32]

Cal State LA

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.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35]

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".[36] 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.[37]

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.[38][39][40]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43]

The 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.[44][45] 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.[46][47]

Target of anti-Semitism

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.'"[48]

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."[49]

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."[50] Shapiro stated "I'm honored because being targeted by mouth-breathing idiots is a compliment—you know you're doing something right if people who tweet pictures of gas chambers on the day of your child's birth find you unacceptable as a human being."[51] He also said: "As the fellow who receives hook-nosed Jew memes more than any other journalist on the planet, I don't believe that people ought to be suspended or banned from Twitter or Facebook for posting vile garbage, so long as it isn't openly advocating violence. I make a habit of retweeting these pieces of human feces in order to mock their stupidity and to expose the fact that people like this exist."[51]

Personal life

Shapiro has three sisters. In 2008, he married Mor Toledano, an Israeli citizen of Moroccan descent.[52] Shapiro and his wife practice Orthodox Judaism.[53][54] Together, they have a daughter, born in 2014,[55] and a son, born in 2016.[56]

In July 2015, Shapiro and transgender rights activist Zoey Tur were on Dr. Drew On Call to discuss Caitlyn Jenner's receipt of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.[57][58] Shapiro called Tur by male terminology, which Tur viewed as a provocation, telling Shapiro to stop or "you'll go home in an ambulance." Shapiro announced publicly that he had filed a police report after Tur grabbed his neck and threatened him on air.[59][60][61]

Among Shapiro's personal interests is baseball; he is a fan of the Chicago White Sox.[62]


See also


  1. ^ McNamara, Neal (2014-01-24). "Justin Bieber a symptom of a big problem". KTTH. Archived from the original on 2015-07-03. Retrieved 2017-09-20. 
  2. ^ "C-Span2 InDepth with Ben Shapiro" (You tube). Google. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Ben Shapiro: Proud Torah-Observant Jew and Rising Star in America's Conservative Movement" (PDF), Zman Magazine, March 2012 
  4. ^ Ben Shapiro Partners with YAF to Affirm Students’ Free Speech Rights at Berkeley Amid Lawsuit YAF, SPENCER BROWN, July 11, 2017
  5. ^ a b Adams, T. Becket (April 30, 2015). "Ben Shapiro out, TruthRevolt in turmoil as Horowitz denies shutdown reports". Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ Whitfield, Sam (December 2, 2014). "Ben Shapiro discusses Chris Rock and Modern Day White Guilt". Google – via YouTube. 
  7. ^ August 8, 2016. The Adam Carolla Show.
  8. ^ Pope, Justin (June 10, 2004). "School liberalism blasted". Deseret News. Associated Press. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Ben Shapiro". Authors. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  10. ^ Book review, UCLA student Charlotte Hsu, The Daily Bruin.
  11. ^ Lawson, Mark (June 29, 2011). "Is US TV too leftwing?". The Guardian. Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  12. ^ Glazov, Jamie (May 31, 2011). "Primetime Propaganda". FrontPage Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ben Shapiro: TruthRevolt Will Make MSM 'Pay' for Lies, Change 'Nature of Media'". Big Journalism. October 7, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ Weigel, David (March 21, 2012). "Meet the Breitbarts". Slate. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ Vinograd, Cassandra. "Breitbart's Michelle Fields, Ben Shapiro Resign Over Trump Incident". NBC News. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Breitbart reporter, editor resign over response to alleged assault by Trump campaign manager". Fox News. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Ben Shapiro's Astonishing Success". National Review. 2017-08-08. 
  18. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 7, 2013). "Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Spox Ducks Question on 'Friends of Hamas'". Big Peace. Breitbart. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ Weigel, David (February 20, 2013). ""Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist". Slate. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ Christopher, Tommy (February 20, 2013). "Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Ducks Questions On 'Fox And Friends Of Hamas'". Mediaite. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  21. ^ Friedman, Dan (February 20, 2013). "'Friends of Hamas': My role in the birth of a rumor". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  22. ^ Christopher, Tommy (February 21, 2013). "The Young Turks Guest Catches Breitbart News' Ben Shapiro In 'Friends Of Hamas' Lie". Mediaite. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  23. ^ Trotter, J.K (February 20, 2013). "'Friends of Hamas' Rumor Debunked by Reporter Who Accidentally Started It". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Obama Despises Israel Because He Despises the West". National Review. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  25. ^ "Everything You Need to Know About Obama's Iran Deal". Breitbart. 2015-07-14. Retrieved 2017-08-01. 
  26. ^ Shapiro, Ben. "Transfer is not a dirty word". Town hall. 
  27. ^ Goldberg, Jeffrey (February 20, 2013). "Prominent Hagel Detractor Endorses Fascistic Vision of Israel". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  28. ^ Shapiro, Ben (March 13, 2013). "What Can Israel Do?". Townhall. p. 1. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  29. ^ Breitbart ‘Shapiro crashes UCLA hearing on BDS’, February 26, 2014.
  30. ^ Daily Bruin ‘USAC passes divestment resolution with 8-2-2 vote’, November 18, 2014.
  31. ^ "University of Missouri Audience Applauds as Ben Shapiro Rips Aggressive Professor". 
  32. ^ "Conservative Commentator Crashes Mizzou Safe Space". The Daily Signal. 
  33. ^ "Ben Shapiro Torches Cal State LA Faculty in 'Diversity' Speech". 
  34. ^ "University President Shuts Down Conservative Journalist's Speech, Citing "Free Exchange of Ideas"". Mediaite. 
  35. ^ "In Reversal, Cal State LA President Allows Conservative Pundit Ben Shapiro to Speak at Campus Event". KTLA 5. 
  36. ^ "Shapiro Speech at Cal State Marred by Blockaded Doors". The Daily Caller. 
  37. ^ "Ben Shapiro escorted by police from CSULA due to angry protesters". ABC 7. 
  38. ^ "YAF files lawsuit against CSULA over canceling Ben Shapiro event". Red Alert Politics. Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  39. ^ "Calif. University Sued for Violating Conservatives' Freedom of Speech". Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  40. ^ "CSULA sued over conservative author's protest-ridden speech". Retrieved May 19, 2016. 
  41. ^ Emily Zanotti (November 14, 2016). "Defiant Ben Shapiro will appear at DePaul University despite ban". Fox News. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Editorial: How DePaul students missed out on a timely lesson about Trump". Chicago Tribune. November 16, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2017. 
  43. ^ "How DePaul students missed out on a timely lesson about Trump". Chicago Tribune. November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  44. ^ Allison Kaplan Sommer (2017-09-15). "Jewish Conservative Ben Shapiro to Antifa Protesters at UC Berkeley: 'Go to Hell, You Lying, Stupid Jackasses'". Haaretz. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  45. ^ "Shaprio event goes off with barely a hitch". Berkeley News. 2017-09-14. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  46. ^ Steinmetz, Katy (2017-09-14). "'The University Has Coddled Students Too Long.' Conservative Firebrand Roils Berkeley". Time. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  47. ^ Panzar, Javier; Tchekmedyian, Alene (2017-09-15). "9 arrested as protesters gather at UC Berkeley for talk by conservative speaker Ben Shapiro". LA Times. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  48. ^ Explaining Ben Shapiro’s Messy, Ethnic-Slur-Laden Breakup With Breitbart. (May 26, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-11-03.
  49. ^ Donald Trump’s Anti-Semitic Supporters. National Review (May 18, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-11-03.
  50. ^ In 2016, people have read anti-Semitic tweets 10 billion times, many from Trump supporters. The Washington Post. Retrieved on November 3, 2016.
  51. ^ a b 6 Thoughts on Being The #1 Journalistic Target of Jew-Hatred. Daily Wire (October 19, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-11-03.
  52. ^ Shapiro, Ben, Twitter 
  53. ^ Glazov, Jamie (May 13, 2004). "Brainwashed". Front Page Magazine. Retrieved June 27, 2011. 
  54. ^ Mor Toledo, first in class to find perfect match, HSJ, archived from the original on January 28, 2013 
  55. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 5, 2014). "Letter to My Newborn Daughter". Townhall. Retrieved September 29, 2015. 
  56. ^ Shapiro, Ben. "Twitter". 
  57. ^ "Ben Shapiro files complaint against transgender reporter Tur". New York Daily News. 
  58. ^ "Editor Ben Shapiro Files Police Report Against Transgender Reporter After Heated TV Exchange". July 21, 2015. 
  59. ^ "Jewish pundit, trans journalist in on-air spat". The Times of Israel. 
  60. ^ Andrew Tobin (July 21, 2015). "Watch: Trans journalist threatens right-wing Jewish pundit during on-air spat". 
  61. ^ Lauren Walker (July 21, 2015). "Editor Ben Shapiro Files Police Report Against Transgender Reporter After Heated TV Exchange". Newsweek. Archived from the original on March 18, 2017. 
  62. ^ Ben Shapiro [@benshapiro] (March 31, 2016). "Baseball. I'm an actual White Sox fan, unlike the fake one in the White House. …" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 

External links