Racist historian David Starkey has been dropped like a hot coal by his publisher and university after expressing “abhorrent” views in an interview on the far-right YouTube channel Reasoned.
HarperCollins will no longer publish the historian and Canterbury Christ Church University has terminated his role after he said “slavery was not genocide”.
Starkey told right-wing commentator Darren Grimes: “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there? You know, an awful lot of them survived.”
According to The Guardian:
HarperCollins UK said it would not be publishing any further books by Starkey.
“The views expressed by David Starkey in his recent interview are abhorrent and we unreservedly condemn them,” said the publisher. “Our last book with the author was in 2010, and we will not be publishing further books with him. We are reviewing his existing backlist in light of his comments and views.”
Starkey was signed by HarperCollins in a four-book deal in 2006, publishing titles including Monarchy: Behind the Royal Mask from the Tudors to the Present, and Henry: Virtuous Prince, the first in a planned two-part biography of Henry VIII. It is understood that the other two titles in the deal, which included the second part of Starkey’s biography, will no longer be published by HarperCollins. The book is currently listed online as coming out in September.
A spokesperson for Hodder & Stoughton, which published Starkey’s 2015 book Magna Carta, said it would also not publish him again: “We unequivocally condemn racism in any form. We published a book by David Starkey in 2015 as a one off project to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta to coincide with a TV documentary. We will not be publishing any further books by him.”
We’ll come to Canterbury Christ Church presently.
If you haven’t seen Starkey’s interview, here’s the offending extract:
"Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn't be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there?"
David Starkey, one of the most widely known popular 'historians' in the UK who has been a regular fixture on TV and other media for decades. pic.twitter.com/gVeodJakTW
— Louis (@Louis_Allday) July 2, 2020
Now, for balance, take a look at Aaron Bastani’s criticism:
— Michael Walker (@michaeljswalker) July 2, 2020
There are several pertinent points there, including this:
If you think saying “slavery was not genocide because there’s so many blacks today” is not racist, imagine David Starkey said “the Holocaust wasn’t a genocide because there’s still Jews around.” It’s a disgrace.
— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) July 2, 2020
Probably more pertinent still is this, from Kerry-Anne Mendoza: “I’m descended from the indigenous people of the Caribbean: the Kalinago. You’ve likely not heard of us. We were virtually annihilated during the first waves of slavery, which is when the Slavers moved on to importing Black Africans to the Caribbean. So f*** you, David.”
Starkey doesn’t stop there. Take a look at this:
This part of the interview might be even more racist than the slavery comments… pic.twitter.com/NswISmh8Ge
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) July 2, 2020
Starkey compares #blacklivesmatter to an entitled lady at Harrods and says they usually have 'lots of money & big cars'.
These morons have been allowed to set the political agenda in this country because they have been elevated by the media. Millionaires that help billionaires.
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) July 2, 2020
Yes indeed. But it seems times are changing.
Lefty columnist Owen Jones tweeted: “This is gratuitous, unashamed racism. It is uttered by one of the most famous historians in the country, a regular on panel shows. It is nodded at by a prominent Tory commentator.”
Here‘s Twitter’s Tom London: “The scandal about this odious, vile man is that he is given airtime and space in newspapers and treated with respect by the Establishment.”
Well, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge – which is about as ‘Establishment’ as one can be, has had enough:
The Master of Fitzwilliam College contacted Dr David Starkey, following his comments. The Master has accepted Dr David Starkey’s resignation of his Honorary Fellowship with immediate effect.
— Fitzwilliam College (@FitzwilliamColl) July 3, 2020
Although Dr Starkey holds no teaching role at Fitzwilliam, Honorary Fellows have the same responsibility as all members of our College to uphold our values.
— Fitzwilliam College (@FitzwilliamColl) July 3, 2020
The decision to ditch Starkey has been greeted with applause:
David Starkey no longer anything to do with Fitzwilliam College……
No doubt the far right will shout injustice for a man they did not know existed….
— 💚Billy J Wells (Muhammad Ahmed) #CorbynOutrider (@BillyJWells) July 3, 2020
Canterbury Christ Church University didn’t even offer him the chance to resign, it seems. Here’s that organisation’s tweet, with appropriate comment by Ms Mendoza:
— Kerry-Anne Mendoza (@TheMendozaWoman) July 3, 2020
Even Darren Grimes, the rising star of the right-wing media, has tried to distance himself from the storm he help to whip up – unsuccessfully, in the light of his own comments.
For example, after Grimes tweeted this about the interview…
— Matt Turner (@MattTurner4L) July 2, 2020
… the following apology seemed to lack sincerity:
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) July 2, 2020
He stated: “Hand on heart, I wasn’t engaged enough in this interview as I should’ve been. It goes without saying that Reasoned UK does not support or condone Dr David Starkey’s words.
“I am very new to being the interviewer rather than the interviewee and I should have robustly questioned Dr Starkey about his comments.
“However, whether it’s on the BBC, ITV, Sky News or on YouTube, no interviewer is responsible for the views expressed by their guests.
“At Reasoned UK you’ll always find unfiltered opinions, allowing the audience to make up their own minds – that said, in future – I can promise that there will be a host who is much more willing to challenge those opinions.”
Responses mocked Grimes:
I'm sorry that noted celebrity racist David Starkey said something racist when I invited him onto my no-holds-barred right-wing YouTube channel specifically to trash Black Lives Matter. There was no way I could have predicted this
— RopesToInfinity (@RopesToInfinity) July 3, 2020
They also pointed out that he played a far greater role in getting the offending words out to the public than just being the interviewer.
As Lewis Parker tweeted: “You didn’t just interview a racist. You interviewed him, nodded your head in agreement, edited the video, posted the video, and then promoted it. Also, the video is still up on your YouTube channel. What a sad sad excuse.”
There’s this, too:
Just a reminder. Grimes saw Starkey as one of his heroes, and thought the interview was ‘bloody fantastic’. Don’t pretend he does agree with Starkey. pic.twitter.com/aFXKnw0YCm
— Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK) July 2, 2020
Note that Grimes hasn’t lost his job.
Still, public opinion seems to believe Starkey still has one port of refuge in this storm – the BBC:
Jackie Walker, the anti-racism campaigner who has often spoken about the genocide of black people caused by the US/Caribbean slave trade tweeted: “Just let what he’s saying sink in, then ask how come the BBC/media allow this man to comment on history.”
This Site’s friend Cornish Damo added: “He’s one of the most hate-filled, bile-inducing blowhards the BBC continue to employ. Now he can add massive racist to this extremely selective ‘historian’. What say you Beeb & anyone else who uses him? Will you stop wheeling this white supremacist out to lecture us now?”
The BBC has been aware that Starkey’s views are poison for many years – former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted his shock at Newsnight broadcasting his racist views, way back in 2011:
Was there any soul-searching on @BBCNewsnight when Mr Corbyn tweeted this in 2011? Doubt it
BBC needs MORE soul-searching, MORE engagement with views outside its own bubble, MORE humility and LESS arrogant our-best-critic-is-ourselves, we’ll just go on marking our own home work https://t.co/uTGU3tpgKK
— Tom London (@TomLondon6) July 3, 2020
Here’s the reason he got away with it, courtesy of another David – Schneider: “Never mind the ignorance about genocide, that “damn blacks” isn’t just a shocking indictment of Starkey. It shows a confidence that you can say that because every time you have done in the past the people you’re with nod along in agreement.”
Craig Murray agrees:
David Starkey has been known to the BBC as a racist for at least nine years. https://t.co/0Xf551flm7
But you cannot be too right wing for the BBC and it has never stopped them inviting him on to spread his poison. https://t.co/4djhO6GGuO
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) July 2, 2020
So what will the Corporation do? Will it follow this advice…
BBC must now make a statement that they condemn Starkey's 'so many damn blacks' comment and confirm that they will cancel any further appearances by him and delete any Starkey material on iPlayer.
Anything less than that, BBC is racist.
Your call, BBC.
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) July 2, 2020
… or will it adhere to form?
At least BBC News and Question Time will have someone else to call on if Farage is unavailable! pic.twitter.com/bKH6ZwG5bj
— Kevin Farnsworth (@Dr_K_Farnsworth) July 2, 2020
Of course, there is an alternative, should the BBC wish to take it:
I'd like to affirm that it is possible to be a Tudor historian and an anti-racist.
— Suzannah Lipscomb (@sixteenthCgirl) July 2, 2020
I have no idea about the rest of Ms Lipscomb’s politics but if she isn’t a racist, at least that’s one step out of the cesspit.
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