The media career of Z-lister Rachel Riley, famous for doing the letters and numbers for Channel 4’s Countdown and not much else, seemed to be taking a favourable turn yesterday when she was awarded the privilege of being interviewed by fellow Channel 4 stalwart Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Sadly for the ambitious Ms Riley, this was to be a campaign that developed not necessarily to her advantage.
She had recently waded in to debates on alleged anti-Semitism. So it was no surprise at all when Guru-Murthy put the question “So what is your own Jewish identity?” This does not sound particularly challenging. But it was enough to allow Ms Riley to open mouth and insert foot in no style at all. “Well, it is line one or line two of my Wikipedia entry. I’ve not spoken about being Jewish. My surname’s Riley”. No shit, Sherlock.
But there was more. “You wouldn’t know, I don’t look like a typical Jew, or anything like that”. Er, hello? What does a “typical Jew” look like? The thought entered that if that had been spoken by someone who was not Jewish, the accusations of “anti-Semitic trope” would soon have come raining down. Writer Michael Rosen wanted to know more.
“Here Rachel Riley says, ‘I don’t look like a typical Jew,’ pulls a face and laughs. What does a ‘typical Jew’ look like? Perhaps Dan Hodges can help? @lmharpin ? @JohnMannMP @IanAustinMP @sajidjavid @JewishNewsUK @JewishChron @MelanieLatest ? Is there a style guide?” And he was only getting warmed up.
“Hello @JewishNewsUK @JewishChron what does ‘look like a Jew or anything like that’ mean? What is the ‘that’ ? Who is ‘anything like that’ ? What is ‘anything like that?’ Are there facial and bodily characteristics that I need to know about?” One cannot imagine that Stephen Pollard of the JC took much comfort from this intervention.
Rosen turned his questioning on Ms Riley. “Hello @RachelRileyRR you said that you ‘don’t look like a typical Jew or anything like that’. Can you give a quick rundown of what a ‘typical Jew’ looks like (as distinct from you) and ‘anything like’ what? What is the ‘that’, here? Thanks”. One cannot imagine she took comfort from it, either.
And when one clumsy intervention pleaded “There are many good people and organisations ‘educating’ people about the problem of anti-Semitism in society. Unfortunately, Rachel Riley’s approach of calling everybody anti-Semitic is doing more damage than good. Whilst her comment is unmistakably anti-Semitic, she is not”, Rosen had rather more to say, which is something one could not say about Ms Riley.
“‘Whilst her comment is unmistakably anti-Semitic, she is not.’ What? What does this even mean? We’ve had a year in which single comments have been pored over as evidence of antisemitism. Along comes a line out of Alfred Rosenberg’s Nazi textbook and you say this?” Quite. Worse, during that interview Ms Riley managed to conflate Jewish people with the state of Israel, which meets one IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
But all that Stephen Pollard could muster was “Do watch this. It's an honest, open and moving interview - and so very eloquent”. Was he watching the same interview?
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The Jewish community has produced some wonderful comedians. As have other culturally besieged communities. Usually their comedy describes the absurdity of much human behaviour.
Riley and Pollard are the first such performers to repeatedly shoot themselves in both feet and think it not funny.
God knows what Moses would have made of it all. He might even have turned back.
Oh dear, I'm sorry Rachel, but that is most definitely not Numberwang.
I bloody love Michael Rosen - a voice of sanity in a sea of ridiculousness on Twitter.
I also love Grace Petrie too just for managing to insert one of Riley's now famed statements into a tweet and poke fun of it; https://twitter.com/gracepetrie/status/1082313362615255042
Far from not being antisemitic Riley has been incredibly vicious on Twitter and labeled her (Jewish) critics as probably "inventing their Jewish heritage". This is one of the most insulting claims against Jews and is along the lines of "self hating Jews" and "not the right kind of Jew".
Remarkable for a lady who accuses others of antisemitism yet seems completely ignorant of Jewish history.
And let's not forget actor Stephen Fry who tweeted his support for Riley even while she tore shreds of people for daring to challenge her.
It's also worth noting that it's an open secret in the ents industry that Rachel Riley is desperate to step away from Countdown and enter into the more mainstream, primetime arena of her more respectable peers (this is evident from her appearances on the dismal 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, various podcasts in the fact that she once cornered Alex Horne and begged to be a contestant on Taskmaster; to his credit Horne said that if someone asks, they won't ever appear!) and she clearly views schmoozing up to the likes of David Baddiel on Twitter in this 'campaign' will afford her that ambition. But she should really stick to the skimpy outfits and the adding up because wading into debate only sees her place both feet in her own mouth.
She's now openly trolling a 16 year old girl who has blocked her on twitter!
Here's your answer, Rachel: "what I meant was I'm blonde and my clothes weren't designed in 17th Century Central Europe"
She has curiously never mentioned her father is a non-religious Christian (which of course makes her a Judeo-Christian), and further rumours that he hates that dancer she committed very obvious adultery on her husband (who has responded with admirable dignity, sadly unlike she has).
She's probably bidding to become the "new" Hatey Katey.
Media's full of 'em.
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