In Brief

Alastair Stewart quits over Twitter ‘errors of judgement’

Broadcaster speaks of ‘regret’ after using ‘angry ape’ Shakespeare quote in online row

ITV News presenter Alastair Stewart is stepping down from his role following what the programme called “errors of judgement” in his use of social media.

During a row with Martin Shapland, a black former Liberal Democrat council candidate, the 67-year-old broadcaster posted a Shakespearean verse from Measure for Measure, which included reference to an “angry ape”.

In response to the tweet, Shapland described the veteran newsreader as a “disgrace” and accused him of using Shakespeare as cover to make a racial insult.

In a statement, the journalist said that he made a “misjudgment which I regret”, adding that it had been a “privilege” to work at ITV. 

The Sun says Stewart was “forced out,” while The Telegraph adds that Stewart’s colleagues “lamented his departure”.

The Daily Mail reports that an ITN insider has defended Stewart. The source said: “He would have thought he was being clever and it was merely an innocent put-down. He is certainly not a racist in any way.

“It is sad if he has had to go because of this. He will be the first man ever fired for accurately quoting Shakespeare.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazineStart your trial subscription today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Meanwhile, Duncan Golestani, a presenter on both BBC and ITV, described Stewart as “one of the kindest men in broadcasting”, while BBC Radio 3 presenter Katie Derham said Stewart was “a very dear friend and colleague” and added: “He will be missed.”

ITV presenter Julie Etchingham wrote on Twitter that she was “so sad to learn this - we have worked on many big stories together & Al is a trusted friend and guide to many of us”.

Stewart was the longest-serving male newsreader after joining Southern Television in 1976 and then ITN in 1980. He began fronting News at Ten nine years later.

He was named presenter of the year by the Royal Television Society in 2005, and was awarded an OBE the following year.

Stewart’s Twitter account has now been deactivated.

Recommended

Will Boris Johnson step down as an MP?
Boris Johnson
Talking point

Will Boris Johnson step down as an MP?

What is ‘quiet quitting’?
Two men leave their office
In Depth

What is ‘quiet quitting’?

Energy bills: what to expect this winter
A gas ring
Getting to grips with . . .

Energy bills: what to expect this winter

What happened to Owami Davies?
Owami Davies
Speed Reads

What happened to Owami Davies?

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner