ITV NEWS has issued an apology to Stormzy after it published an article about his views on racism in the UK with a misleading headline.
In an interview the grime artist did with an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, he was asked if Britain was still racist today. He replied: “definitely, 100%” and said there was “a lot of racism in the country”.
His response was used by ITV News and other publications to imply that he had said Britain was 100 per cent racist as opposed to that he believed 100 per cent there was still racism in the country.
Stormzy tweeted his frustration about the way his comments had been reported by several UK media outlets.
“All you publications and media outlets that are intentionally spinning my words for some click bait can suck my dick and please don’t try beg it in the future,” he said.
Following a backlash from the star himself and his supporters, ITV News apologised and released a statement addressing the incident.
“Asked whether the UK was a racist country, Stormzy was reported by a news agency to say: “Definitely, 100%. It’s like: ‘Oh no, we’re not racist’. But there’s a lot of racism in the country…
“The difficult thing with the UK is, as you said, in Italy it’s a clear problem, whereas trying to explain that Britain is a racist country is the most difficult thing ever.”
This response was reproduced in full on our website,” ITV News said.
It added: “Despite this, it was felt the headline at the top of this story on our website and Twitter post did not reflect these comments fully and was therefore amended.
The tweet regarding the quotes was also later removed. We would like to apologise to Stormzy for any misunderstanding.”
On Twitter, many came to his defence and agreed with the 26-year-old’s claim that his words had been intentionally twisted.
Some supporters substituted the topic of racism for various alternatives with Stormzy’s original answer to emphasise the impact of the misinterpretation.
The Italian journalist whose interview with Stormzy was the basis of the subsequent articles published by UK media, tweeted the full transcript of the interview and encouraged people to read it for the “full picture”.
In the interview, Stormzy, who supported Labour in the general election, expanded on his views on racism in the UK and said he believed it had become worse under Boris Johnson’s premiership.
He told La Repubblica: “I think with Boris…if you have a figurehead, if the top person can openly say this racist thing, that racist thing, the ‘piccaninnies’ remarks, ‘watermelon smiles’, comparing Muslim women to a letter box, if that is our figurehead, the leader we have to follow, and he openly says these things, he encourages hate amongst others.”
Following the furore over Stormzy’s comments, both from those who agreed with him and were angry at how he had been misrepresented and those who strongly disputed his characterisation of racism in Britain, a high profile incident of racism was reported at the Tottenham Stadium.
During Spurs’ match against Chelsea, Antonio Rüdiger was targeted by racist abuse from the stands.
Responding to reports that racist behaviour from spectators was interfering with the game. Ian Wright said: “Definitely, 100 per cent.”
Gary Linekar also showed his support for Stormzy and linked the two incidents. He tweeted: “Seems that there may well have been another racist episode. Those that were quick to condemn Stormzy’s comments should take note.”