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

How fluoride in water can cut tooth decay
Water running out of a tap
Fact file

How fluoride in water can cut tooth decay

Would Keir Starmer decriminalise drugs?
Sir Keir Starmer
Today’s big question

Would Keir Starmer decriminalise drugs?

Podcasts: food, the Theranos trial, and 9/11 
Elizabeth Holmes: on trial for fraud
In Review

Podcasts: food, the Theranos trial, and 9/11 

Is James Bond still relevant?
Daniel Craig
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is James Bond still relevant?

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Penguins ‘might be aliens’
Penguins
Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

The most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

The most extreme weather events in 2021

The Week Footer Banner