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Arizona lawmaker punished for using Senate facilities to speak with antisemitic talk show host

The president of the Arizona Senate punished a fellow Republican who used taxpayer-funded resources to appear on a talk show hosted by an antisemitic, far-right personality. 

The Arizona Mirror reported that Sen. Anthony Kern (R-Glendale) used Senate video equipment to appear on the Stew Peters Show last week to criticize a drag story hour hosted by Democrats in the Arizona House last month.

Peters, who is called an “antisemitic conspiracy theorist” by the Anti-Defamation League, has used his show and social media accounts to post antisemitic tropes and praise Nazis, including book burnings in Nazi Germany.

“We have to identify who the real enemy is,” Peters says during the intro to his show, which features flashing images depicting antisemitic caricatures of Jewish men

According to a statement from a Senate spokeswoman, Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) revoked Kern’s ability to use the Senate’s broadcasting equipment after his appearance on Peters’ show. 

“The Senate President does not approve of how the Senator chose to use legislative broadcast resources last week, and as a result, his privileges to use those resources for future interviews have been revoked,” according to the statement. 

Kern said he supported Petersen's decision. "President Petersen was elected to make hard decisions and I support his decision in this matter," Kern said.

Kern said he was unaware of antisemitic imagery in the show’s introduction.

“I did not see any imagery or research the host prior to the podcast,” Kern said. “In response to the critics, I have appeared on other shows like CNN and the New York Times who many agree are very antisemitic. My support for Israel is unwavering.”

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Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.