Notre Dame Cathedral Fire: Shep Smith Blasts Official for Suggesting Blaze Was Intentional

Fox News anchor Shep Smith shut d own an on-air guest on Monday for speculating that the Notre Dame Cathedral fire was lit on purpose.

Conspiracy theories have been circulating widely about the Notre Dame Cathedral fire on Monday, and so far none are based in fact. In a flip from Fox News' live coverage of the tragedy, Shep Smith was quick to quiet a French official for spreading one of these misleading ideas with no evidence to support it.

The official was Philippe Karsenty, a former French political candidate, who compared the fire to the September 11 attacks.

"It's like a 9/11, it's a French 9/11, you know? And it's a big shock," Karsenty said. "We've had churches desecrated each and every week all over France." Karsenty then went on to say that "of course, you will hear the story of the political correctness which will tell you it's probably an accident."

Smith cut in, not wanting viewers to take Karsenty's speculation for fact. He talked over the politician.

"Sir, we're not going to speculate here of the cause of something which we don't know," he said. "If you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it."

"I'm just telling you something, what we need to be ready," Karsenty said. At that point, Smith cut the interview short.

"No, sir, we're not doing that here, not now, not on my watch," Smith said. "The man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire and neither do I."

"The fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this and conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counterproductive and injurious to society," Smith went on. "And those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet."

The exchange went viral as a beacon of journalistic integrity in a difficult time. Elsewhere, conspiracy theories were traded freely before the fire was even out. An unconfirmed and later redacted report of arson from TIME columnist Christopher Hale fueled speculation by conspiracy sites like InfoWars, and pundits like Mike Cernovich and Sefan Molyneux. Theorists blamed the fire on everyone from groups like ISIS, to Michelle Obama and the so-called "deep state." Again, none of these ideas have any basis in fact.

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The investigation into the Notre Dame Cathedral fire is ongoing.