One glance at Riaz Patel and his left-wing CV and you’d assume he and Glenn Beck to be sworn enemies.
Beck, of course, is a right-wing cable news pundit who for years couched his bat-shit crazy conspiracy theories as “defense of American democracy.” He’s called Obama a racist and compared him to Hitler, progressives to Nazis, the Peace Corps to SS soldiers and (just last week) Planned Parenthood to — you guessed it — Nazis as well (the ones obsessed with eugenics experiments). The Daily Show once joked that Beck has “Nazi Tourettes.”
Patel runs the L.A.-based TV production company responsible for trashy reality series like How to Look Good Naked and How Do I Look? He’s also a liberal. And gay. And married. With — as The Daily Beast points out — “an 11-month old girl conceived by artificial insemination and carried to term by a Mexican surrogate.” And Pakistani. He’s basically a member of every group that has at some point been the scapegoat of Beck’s divisive rhetoric.
But somehow the two have become close friends, which naturally makes people go huh?
“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” 📽Casablanca pic.twitter.com/k9QfmHlaSp
— Riaz Patel (@RiazPatel) December 16, 2016
It was only a few months back that Beck began a “reformation tour” of sorts, most notably by appearing on late-night news satirist Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal. The two TV talking heads — each of whom stood on polar opposites of the political spectrum — surprisingly … got along. It was all in the effort to combat Trump, of course, who gets no vocal support from Beck. In addition to appearing on Bee’s successful series, Beck has referred to Trump as “under-educated” and a “danger” to the country, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement and has called out Steve Bannon and the alt-right for what it is — a branch of white nationalism.
One of the latest signs of Beck being a reformed man is the quality time he’s been spending with Patel.
Their relationship and eventual business partnership was sparked from the rubble of last year’s Orlando terrorist attack at Pulse Nightclub. The Daily Beast reports that Patel pre-empted the incident’s nationwide wave of Islamophobia by reaching out to multiple TV news outlets and offering himself up as a representative for non-violent Muslims. One of those appearances was on Tomi Lahren’s show, hosted on TheBlaze, which Beck owns. (It should be noted that Beck recently fired Lahren following the female pundit’s ‘coming out’ as pro-choice on The View.)
Patel’s appearance on Lahren’s show was so well-received it was suggested he should stick around for Beck’s evening show, which he did. A month later, Patel returned to Beck’s program as an episode’s sole guest.
Patel tells The Daily Beast that he was hardly a fan of Beck before their budding friendship began: “I did use the expression ‘White Devil,’ because I honestly thought he was hateful, angry news personified. I thought he is absolutely partly responsible for this culture of madness and chaos and rage all the time that we have right now.”
— Riaz Patel (@RiazPatel) February 26, 2017
His friendship and new business relationship with Beck has reportedly caused Patel to lose some liberal friends, though Patel insists he’s “nobody’s pawn.” Patel is currently in talks to take an editor-at-large role under Beck’s brand. The Daily Beast reports that Patel visits Beck’s Dallas studios weekly.
Meanwhile, Patel has turned full Beck apologist: “I am now realizing that I was essentially uninformed when I say I hated Glenn Beck for who he was. If I was really being honest, I don’t think I ever watched one of his shows. A lot of it was coming from this perception of him and my sense of what are the things he doesn’t like about me. I was pretty obnoxious in my opinions. That being said, there are things he should be held accountable for, and I do believe has done wrong.”
Only time will tell whether Beck’s days of “doing wrong” are behind him. Patel seems pretty confident that they are.