Police investigate Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes over controversial David Starkey interview

Support us and go ad-free

A police investigation has been launched into Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes over a controversial interview he published in which historian David Starkey said slavery was not genocide because there are “so many damn blacks” still around.

In a statement, Metropolitan Police confirmed that “on 4 July, the Metropolitan Police Service was passed an allegation from Durham Police of a public order offence relating to a social media video posted online on 30 June.

“The matter is currently being investigated.”

No arrests have been made, the force added.

Brighton College National Education Conference
Dr David Starkey faced significant backlash over his comments in the interview (Gareth Fuller/PA)

In the interview, which was published on YouTube channel Reasoned UK, Dr Starkey, 75, said: “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?

Read on...

“An awful lot of them survived and again there’s no point in arguing against globalisation or Western civilisation. They are all products of it, we are all products of it.

“The honest teaching of the British Empire is to say, quite simply, it is the first key stage of our globalisation.

“It is probably the most important moment in human history and it is still with us.”

In the wake of significant backlash from the interview, Dr Starkey resigned his honorary fellowship at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, while Canterbury Christ Church University terminated his role as visiting professor, calling his comments “completely unacceptable”.

Dr Starkey issued a lengthy apology on July 6, in which he said his “principal regret” was that his “blundering use of language” could endanger people’s right to freedom of speech.

Speaking about his use of the phrase “so many damn blacks”, he said: “It was intended to emphasise, in hindsight with awful clumsiness, the numbers who survived the horrors of the slave trade.

“Instead, it came across as a term of racial abuse.

“This, in the present atmosphere, where passions are high and feelings raw, was deplorably inflammatory.

“It was a bad mistake. I am very sorry for it and I apologise unreservedly for the offence it caused.”

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Does it really count as “racial abuse” ? He clearly slipped because he was frustrated about the logic of the assertion being made, which is his opinion, whether or not anyone else agrees with him. In context, his explanation makes sense. He’s just a bit arrogant and irritable, that’s all. If we condemn him as racist on this point, then ought we not also condemn the vehement and directly anti white messaging rebroadcast by many firms on TV and the Radio which has used expletives too?

    2. Don’t understand the logic of a Met. Police investigation against Darren Grimes the journalist.
      Surely it should be David Starkey who is being investigated ?
      If racism is not approached honestly, with racist remarks ‘called out’ how are we supposed to deal with the problem in an adult, open way ? ..therefore outlining to the racists’ amongst us that these statements are racist in themselves and unacceptable.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.