Channel 4’s Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley has made great play of any perceived threat from those on the left. As the Guardian reported in January, “The Countdown co-presenter Rachel Riley has revealed she is to be given extra security on the Channel 4 game show after being abused online for her criticism of antisemitism in the Labour party”. She claimed to have been targeted by Labour supporters.
And there was more. “She told the Times newspaper: ‘The more I speak, the more abuse I get, and the more abuse I get, the more I speak. It’s got to the point where I can’t look at my Twitter feed any more … it’s just a constant stream’ … She added: ‘We are getting more security for Countdown.’” So one might have expected that she would desist from doing any of that kind of thing herself. But, it seems, maybe not.
Ms Riley has now posted a Tweet showing a photo of the Labour leader against a Game Of Thrones background, with the comment “If you take out the leader the others fall with him... which one’s Seamus [sic] Milne?!”. Take out the leader. The leader of the political party of which the late Jo Cox was a member, and represented as an MP. It appears to be a form of words she has not previously used on Twitter.
The blowback was not long in coming. “Reported. @Channel4 - one of your employees has just publicly incited violence towards the LOTO. She may smile and laugh on #Countdown but I for one cannot watch this programme without being reminded that @RachelRileyRR endorses ‘taking out’ a politician” was one response (a lot of Tweeters have reported her for that one). Another was “@metpoliceuk I’m sure you know what ‘taken out’ means in this context … In memory of #JoCox”. And on it went.
“Have some dignity. This tweet is dangerous and juvenile all at once. Reported” was typical (I did say a lot of Tweeters reported her). Also pointed out was that Jezza has had threats before: “This is pretty disgusting especially in light of the fact he has already had threats on his life”. Not making many friends or influencing many people here.
And on. “So you're AGAIN implying Corbyn should be taken out? Are you gonna send your lawyer after everyone who points this out? Fucking disgusting. Reported and blocked!” Implying AGAIN? Oh dear! And on: “Regardless of how you feel about Corbyn / Labour, I would’ve hoped this sort of dangerous rhetoric would’ve been beneath you Rachel. Words have consequences”. They certainly do. Ask the far right.
One Tweeter put it directly, as they do in the North. “I live in Salford, [North West] UK. Rachel Riley’s father lived here and was brought up here, her brother was born here. So she knows that the expression to take someone out in our area means just that - Kill them. I find this tweet by her highly offensive and a direct threat at Corbyn”. End of story.
The last thing someone who claims to be on the receiving end of so much abuse needs is to indulge in in themselves. And that is what Rachel Riley appears to be on the verge of doing with that intervention. Worse, the jibe is aimed at the leader of Jo Cox’s party.
Yet the Tweet is still up, and apology has come there none. That’s not good enough.
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