Rachel Riley does the numbers on Countdown. But she’s also appointed herself witchfinder general in a campaign to silence critics of Apartheid Israel with false accusations of antisemitism. (Full disclosure: she has dedicated a lot of that time to smearing The Canary.)
People are now calling for her to be sacked after her latest stunt backfired. Given Riley’s sorry history on racism, it’s about time.
Riley shared an image of herself in a T-shirt. The T-shirt had on it a photoshopped image of Jeremy Corbyn’s arrest in the 1980s for protesting the racist Apartheid system in South Africa. In the original picture, Corbyn holds a placard that reads:
Defend the right to demonstrate against Apartheid. Join this picket.
In Riley’s version, these words are replaced with:
Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour
Riley has quite literally erased the words of the anti-Apartheid movement to defend a modern Apartheid in Israel. She has hijacked a powerful symbol in the fight against anti-Black racism, and co-opted it for herself. She has essentially weaponised anti-racism for the purposes of racism.
People of colour, and their anti-racist allies, are done with this charlatan:
Just wow. Wowwww.
Up there with the most arrogant racist shit I have seen in a while. A blue eyed blonde haired woman literally ERASING black struggle to centre themselves as the victim of racism. https://t.co/JTbZUzjQwP
— Chardine Taylor Stone (@misschazmatazz) November 21, 2019
Rachel Riley should apologise for the hurt and upset that she has caused to many whose families and loved ones suffered under the Apartheid regime!
The disrespect and lack of care shown to the Anti-Apartheid struggle is truly hurtful.
— Labour's Black PLP #RegisterToVote (@LaboursBlackPLP) November 21, 2019
Photoshopping out anti-apartheid slogans is a great look, Rachel Riley. pic.twitter.com/Ono1zbpPtE
— Dril Kafka (vibe checked) (@RuairiWood) November 20, 2019
How many times is Rachel Riley going to shit on black history before mainstream outlets will start calling her out… I… I’m tired. pic.twitter.com/XoKfCGq4zp
— Coco (Vote Labour) (@___mamiwata) November 20, 2019
When will the mainstream media call out Rachel Riley? Is she in favour of apartheid? Whatever your opinions of Corbyn this is a shit take from someone who is so appalled about anti-semitism, but never calls it out from other political parties or racism, Islamophobia funny that 🤷♂️ https://t.co/N4rSeaVWT0
— Tony Hall (@Tonestiger) November 20, 2019
Rachel Riley is a total disgrace. I demand that Riley be sacked with immediate effect. pic.twitter.com/sInxiu0mHH
— DribbleDam #GTTO (@DribbleDam) November 21, 2019
Former South African MP and Jewish anti-Apartheid campaigner Andrew Feinstein also railed at Riley:
As a former MP under Nelson Mandela, as the son of a Holocaust survivor who lost 39 members of her family in the camps, as a Sth African anti-racist, I find what Rachel Riley has done offensive, appalling & deeply repugnant. (Cud someone who she hasn’t blocked plse pass this on) https://t.co/ioC8UFdlfd
— Andrew Feinstein (@andrewfeinstein) November 21, 2019
Riley’s response so far has been to dismiss critics as ‘trolls’. She shared a long-ago-debunked fake news story by the Telegraph to claim a rift between Nelson Mandela and Corbyn. Again, Black Twitter stepped in to remind Riley that we know our own history:
Worth a read, tells the real story behind Riley & the Daily Fail's claim. https://t.co/PdWvd6Suw2
— formerly known as Dave (@youngjoanna1) November 21, 2019
This latest stunt is an egregious and revolting insult to people of colour. And it is entirely consistent with Riley’s abuse of anti-racist language to defend her own racist behaviour.
Riley’s tainted history
We don’t have to look very hard to find examples of Riley’s double standards on racism. Her tone-deafness to Black and ethnic-minority concerns is off the charts. In efforts to escalate her anti-Corbyn attacks to ever-higher levels of hyperbole, Riley is willing to invoke the most outrageous comparisons. Seriously, back in July, she compared the Durham Miners’ Gala to a KKK rally:
No intelligent person is suprised by her latest antics. This was her in July. https://t.co/k5oC83HBJ1
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) November 21, 2019
This act alone is more racially offensive than any word or deed by Jeremy Corbyn. Only someone privileged enough to never face the sort of racist wrath meted out by the KKK could make such an absurd comparison. The marching bands of Durham are unlikely to arrive on Riley’s lawn with a noose and burning torches, for example.
But to Riley and her merry band of hypocrites, they are the permanent priority victims. Despite being wealthy, white and platformed, they presume a deeper understanding and experience of racism than anyone else. And there is no double standard too glaring for them to make with a straight face.
Riley recently promoted the views of an anti-Corbyn heckler – even after he was exposed as sharing racist, homophobia and antisemitic posts in social media:
Here’s Rachel Riley, championing an Islamophobic, anti-Semitic homophobe, because he doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn.
If her anti-racist credentials weren’t smashed all over the floor already, they surely are now. pic.twitter.com/sBwWukvQd6
— Mike #VoteLabour 🌹 (@mickeyfinnlad) November 13, 2019
So it appears that Richard Cameron – the Church of Scotland minister who heckled Jeremy Corbyn – has a serious problem with Muslims and LGBT people. Just a snapshot of his tweets below. pic.twitter.com/yBkxht2rwa
— Liam O'Hare (@Liam_O_Hare) November 13, 2019
My thread of the numerous times JC has supported/praised terrorists/invited them to Parliament.
The heckler turning out to be a massive wrongun changes none of this.
Corbyn cheerleaders trying to dismiss the facts because of it is one of the worst ‘woke gotchas’ they’ve tried. https://t.co/nXx1V5ePXu
— Rachel Riley 🍊 (@RachelRileyRR) November 14, 2019
The hostile environment
Riley has claimed she’d vote Tory rather than vote for Corbyn. This despite Boris Johnson’s long history of sexist, homophobic and racist remarks. These include referring to gay men as “bumboys”, black people as “picanninnies” with “water-melon smiles”, and Muslim women as “letterboxes”. And that’s before we get to the Tory Islamophobia crisis, the Windrush scandal, Grenfell, and the ‘hostile environment’. Oh, and not forgetting how Tory leader of the house Jacob Rees-Mogg once gave an after-dinner speech to white supremacist group Traditional Britain.
— Mirror Politics (@MirrorPolitics) April 3, 2019
No committed anti-racist would even consider supporting such a party. But in the Rachel Riley Hall of Mirrors, reality itself is inverted. I mean, this is the woman who joked about not looking like “a typical Jew”. What does “a typical Jew” look like, Rachel?
Rachel Riley is basically a very stupid Tory troll
Because she is so stupid it's very easy for her to make stupid, racist and even antisemitic comments such as 'I don't look like a typical Jew' and call herself 'Aryan'pic.twitter.com/lQ90FSGafs
— LFTV (@TheBirmingham6) November 21, 2019
This rancid behaviour undermines the fight against all forms of racism and helps create a new kind of hostile environment. An environment where the Telegraph runs nonsense like this:
Comparisons between Corbyn and Enoch Powell is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. The stress this must be causing Jewish Corbyn supporters. I’m sorry this happening to you cause this is actually WILD! 😵
I’m not sure how I’d feel if my community was being used in the way. https://t.co/pDp9a3OZdJ
— Chardine Taylor Stone (@misschazmatazz) November 20, 2019
This litany of bigotry is far from exhaustive. But at this point, we could fill a book with the misdeeds of Rachel Riley.
A line in the sand
I live life as a gay, working-class woman of colour. And yet Riley regularly attempts to brand me and this outlet as racist. I reject her accusations. Not that she even merits the credibility to make them. Riley (in her own words) passes as white. This is not an option for people like me and countless others who are routinely subjected to racist abuse and discrimination. Yet she fails to acknowledge this privilege, or consider the lived experience of others, when tossing about these allegations like confetti.
To a cynical operator like Riley, the worst thing in the world is to be called a racist. But to an actual anti-racist, the worst thing is being racist.
As anti-racists, we assume there is racism within us. Growing up in a racist society, we will inevitably pick up conscious and unconscious ethnic biases. Our job is to hunt them out, and ditch them. And it’s a lifelong process. It’s the ongoing commitment to that process that makes a person truly anti-racist like, say, Corbyn.
What Riley does is performative anti-racism. She leverages the language of anti-racism purely for political ends. And she repeatedly tramples over the feelings of the LGBTQI+, Black, and Muslim communities. You’ll find she barely mentions antisemitism outside the prism of attacks on the Labour Party. And she actively supports the racist actions of Apartheid Israel. She ain’t no anti-racist, bruv.
Nevertheless, Riley continues to enjoy her minor celebrity status. And her anti-left witch hunt is promoted relentlessly by the media. She is even effectively platformed as an anti-bullying ambassador. We suggest you take a leaf out of the Riley playbook – it’s time for us to draw a line in the sand. It’s time to call out any organisation that promotes the bullshit tsunami that is Rachel Riley.
Featured image via Twitter
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