David Starkey calls Emily Maitlis ‘disgraceful’

Oct 4, 2011

Historian comes out fighting as Ofcom declines to investigate Newsnight over ‘racist’ comments

TV HISTORIAN David Starkey has called BBC presenter Emily Maitlis "disgraceful" after Ofcom refused to investigate complaints that he made racist comments on an edition of Newsnight.

Ofcom received 103 complaints from members of the public after Starkey said during a debate on Newsnight following the August riots "the problem is that the whites have become black".

Fellow television personalities also put the boot in, with Piers Morgan saying: "RIP David Starkey's TV career. And good riddance. Racist idiot."

But Ofcom declined to investigate Newsnight because "the effect of [Starkey's] comments was limited by the presenter's moderation of the item and his comments were countered by the views of other contributors".

Starkey, however, is far less complimentary of Maitlis's moderating skills.

"I thought that Maitlis was a disgraceful chairman," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Are chairmen supposed to attack one of the panellists?

"The question we were supposed to be answering was whether the riots were testimony to some sort of major cultural change in Britain. And I tried to answer that question.

"Nothing that I said on air could conceivably be construed as racist, but there is this hysteria about race. We have this situation in which we can't talk about it rationally or sensibly."

Starkey also rounded on those who attacked him in August, among them Labour leader Ed Miliband and Tory MP Lousie Mensch, saying: "You know yourself by your enemies, and I'm quite happy with mine. Isn't it wonderful that I was attacked by Piers Moron, Louise Mensch and Ed Millipede?"

Sign up for our daily newsletter