Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

David Starkey sacked by university after ‘so many damn blacks in Africa' remark

Historian David Starkey has been stripped of his role as visiting professor at Canterbury Christ Church University after claiming ‘slavery was not genocide’ because ‘so many damn blacks live in Africa and Britain’.

Pressure was growing for him to have his fellowship at the University of Cambridge removed but instead it has accepted his resignation. The 75-year-old academic has also stood down from the Mary Rose Trust and could be stripped of his honorary degree by Lancaster University following his comments, made during an online interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes for YouTube channel Reasoned UK.

Canterbury Christ Church University terminated Starkey’s role adding that his comments are ‘completely unacceptable. In a statement today Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam College said: The Master has accepted Dr David Starkey’s resignation of his honorary fellowship with immediate effect.

‘Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for under-represented groups. Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.

‘Honorary fellows have the same responsibility as all members of our college to uphold our values.’

Vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University Professor Rama has apologised to staff and students at the university in Kent who have been offended and upset by the ‘appalling’ comments.

He said: ‘Widely reported comments by historian David Starkey during a recent online interview are, in our view, completely unacceptable and do not reflect the values of our university and community. We have therefore terminated, with immediate effect, Dr Starkey’s visiting professorship.

‘I would like to say sorry to colleagues and students who will have been offended and upset by such comments of this appalling nature, and in particular in these challenging and difficult times for us all.’

During the interview, Starkey said: ‘Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there? 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.’

The interview has sparked a backlash, including from former chancellor Sajid Javid, who said Starkey’s ‘racist’ comments were a ‘reminder of the appalling views that still exist’

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