All too predictably, following last week’s BBC Question Time controversy, and the suggestions that shadow home secretary Diane Abbott had received less than totally fair treatment, together with examples of new host Fiona Bruce getting her facts wrong not once, but twice, there had to be pushback from all those white people who like to tell everyone else that racism doesn’t really exist, honestly.
And that means the intervention of Brendan O’Neill of Spiked, so named because it should have been long ago. Bren not only knows all about racism, he knows that when black people see racism, it isn’t really racism, because, well, it isn’t. O’Neill has made a career niche out of lecturing ethnic minorities from his whitey privilege pulpit. It was no different with the Question Time ruckus, as he instructed Ms Abbott to “Man Up”.
Moreover, he was ready with the deflection, claiming that Labour and its activists had declared Ms Bruce to be a racist. Now colour me sceptical, because I am sceptical, but the claims of racism were not, repeat not, repeat NOT, directed against the host personally. O’Neill is once more reaching so far that he indulges in falsehood and misinformation.
In any case, Bren’s claim that the Question Time audience does not endorse Ms Abbott’s account of what happened has been dealt a blow by the testimony of Denise Richards, who has spoken to Derbyshire Live. Ms Richards was in the audience, was also in the audience when Question Time came to Derby four years ago, she texted her concerns to a friend before the program was recorded, and she is black.
That, for Brendan O’Neill, is in the awkward category. And there is more. She told “We were kept in a holding area and Fiona Bruce popped in to see us and encouraged us to cheer, clap and make plenty of noise during the programme - not something that former presenter David Dimbleby ever did”. And then came the show itself.
Denise Richards - in the Question Time audience
“Then we took our seats and there was a warm-up session before recording began when Ms Bruce introduced members of the panel … I couldn't believe it when she introduced Diane Abbott and said that she is close to Jeremy Corbyn and that once upon a time they were even closer … Everyone started laughing and giggling and it seemed to set the tone for the evening. I am not a fan of Diane Abbott, but I feel she was treated badly on the night”. And Ms Richards’ verdict on the spectacle?
“I thinks she [Ms Abbott] let herself down, but on this occasion she did receive poor treatment at the hands of the audience and the panel and it was definitely racial”. The article confirms “Derbyshire Live has seen the text that Ms Richards sent to friends about what had happened at 6.58pm. Recording of the programme started at about 7.15pm”.
Ms Richards added “Having read the comments about this over the weekend, I felt I needed to set the record straight because I was actually there”. She isn’t a partisan shill - unlike that events manager from Nottingham cited by the Telegraph - and she clearly isn’t a fan of Ms Abbott. But she has called out racism where she has seen it.
Awkward for the BBC. And yet another example of Brendan O’Neill sticking his contrarian bugle in without knowing what he’s talking about. So no change there, then.
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