In the aftermath of this week’s leaders’ debate, and the bad news for alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson that he came off second best to Jeremy Corbyn, it was perhaps inevitable that there would be an effort made to take the shine off the new optimism coursing through Labour ranks. And so it came to pass, as Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley drew attention to herself once more.
Ms Riley appears to have a less than totally healthy obsession with Jezza. She has convinced herself that this life-long anti-racist is a racist. So now she has given her blessing to a T-shirt design that uses as its basis the photo of Corbyn being arrested for protesting the Apartheid régime in South Africa. The placard he was carrying said “Defend the right to demonstrate against Apartheid. Join this picket”
The T-shirt replaces those words with “Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour”. Mike Williams observed “Jeremy Corbyn's showing people he's committed to reducing living costs by living rent-free inside Rachel Riley's head” and continued on a more serious note “Imagine having the confidence to smear Jeremy Corbyn as a racist, while simultaneously erasing apartheid history for your own twisted agenda. Rachel Riley, everyone”.
And he wasn’t finished. “Is Rachel Riley behind this and is she ok? I'm all for freedom of expression but this just wrong”. Mark Hebden also picked up on the clumsy erasing of the anti-Apartheid struggle: “So Rachel Riley has taken an image of Jeremy Corbyn protesting against South African apartheid and photoshopped it onto a t-shirt, amended to accuse him of being a racist. Amazing she doesn't see how erasing the apartheid struggle from that image is so grossly offensive”. And very Katie Hopkins. There was more.
Alex Tiffin mused “Rachel Riley has an extremely unhealthy obsession with Jeremy Corbyn. Challenging antisemitism is one thing, but she's just out and out fixated on Corbyn. She does get bad abuse I know, but being just as harassing & abusive isn't ok, and should it be called out”. Socialist Voice added “Jeremy Corbyn was protesting against black people’s struggle in apartheid South Africa … Rachel Riley has erased this to smear Jeremy Corbyn in attempt to portray herself as a victim”.
Aaron Bastani of Novara Media pointed out “This is, without doubt, the craziest thing I’ve seen on twitter. A white person erasing an anti-apartheid message is new levels of bizarre. It’s something you expect from the alt-right. This person has fronted ‘anti-trolling’ campaigns. Good grief”. Chardine Taylor Stone was unimpressed. “YOU DO NOT treat apartheid as joke to make a statement. I don’t care who is holding the placard or what statement she thinks she is making here. #Blacktwitter we need to sort this out”.
That point was echoed by the Tweeter who asked “How many times is Rachel Riley going to shit on black history before mainstream outlets will start calling her out... I... I’m tired”. And Andrew Feinstein simply concluded “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 [South] African anti-racist, I find what Rachel Riley has done offensive, appalling & deeply repugnant”. This campaign has developed not necessarily to her advantage.
All that has resulted is that Rachel Riley gets nearer by the day to being compared - and not necessarily favourably - to pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins. Not a good look.
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