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Bigoted historian David Starkey dropped by publisher and loses coveted Cambridge title after ‘indefensible’ racist rant

Lily Wakefield July 3, 2020
David Starkey.

David Starkey. (David Levenson/Getty)

David Starkey, who has faced mass criticism over his comments that “slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn Blacks”, has been stripped of his honorary Cambridge fellowship.

On June 30, the historian, 75, discussed with gay right-wing pundit Darren Grimes on his YouTube channel Reasoned, whether the Black Lives Matter movement has veiled “aims to delegitimate British history”.

During the discussion, Starkey told Grimes: “Slavery was not genocide. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there? An awful lot of them survived.”

The United Nations estimates that around 17 million Black people died during the transatlantic slave trade, but the death toll varies, with some suggesting the figure could be between 30 to 70 million.

Starkey said that slavery was “fruitful” even with the “downsides”, and added: “As for the idea, as I said, that slavery is this terrible disease that dare not speak its name… I only dare not speak its name, Darren, because we settled it 2,000 years ago.”

Starkey is facing widespread condemnation, and has now been forced to resign from the honorary fellowship he was given by Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in 1984.

The master of Fitzwilliam College confirmed Friday (July 3) that she had accepted his resignation “with immediate effect”.

Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for underrepresented groups,” a statement read.

“Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.”

The college explained that Starkey had not held a teaching role, honorary fellows “have the same responsibility as all members of our college to uphold our values”.

Fitzwilliam College had previously released a statement on Thursday (July 2) which said: “Fitzwilliam College does not tolerate racism. We support and promote freedom of speech in our academic community, but we have zero tolerance of racism.

“Dr David Starkey’s recent comments on slavery are indefensible.”

David Starkey has been dropped by multiple organisations after his racist rant.

Other organisations with links to gay historian David Starkey have also been cutting ties.

Harper Collins, which has published some of Starkey’s books, also released a statement on Thursday which read: “The views expressed by David Starkey in his recent interview are abhorrent and we unreservedly condemn them.

“Our last book with the author was in 2010, and we will not be publishing further books with him.

“We are reviewing his existing backlist in light of his comments and views.”

Starkey, who specialises in the Tudor period, was also forced to resign from the board of the Mary Rose Trust, which oversees the Tudor Mary Rose ship.

The trust said it was “appalled” by his racist comments and added: “Mary Rose Trust is a charity that exists for the benefit of everyone and we have zero tolerance for such comments.”

The gay historian has a long history of horrific comments about race, same-sex parents and rape.

In 2011, Cambridge University was forced to remove a promotional video featuring David Starkey when he claimed after the London riots that “the whites have become Black [by adopting] a particular sort of violent destructive, nihilistic gangster culture”. He has also claimed that statistics show a Black “propensity” to violence.

In 2014, speaking on Question Time, he said that violence was required for rape, not just the absence of consent, and added: “I have seen 13, 14, 15, 16-year-old boys and girls that were highly mature sexually that were profoundly manipulative and knew exactly what they wanted.”

Pressed on whether he though a 14-year-old could groom a 44-year-old teacher, he said “yes is the answer,” before adding: “Can we replace the word groomed by seduced?”

He has also previously said that minority groups and disabled people should stop acting like “victims”, claimed the legalisation of gay sex has “largely destroyed homosexual creativity”, compared the SNP to Nazis and described gay parenting as “ludicrous”.

More: cambridge university, Darren Grimes, David Starkey, fitzwilliam college, Gay, historian, honorary fellowship, racist, reasoned, slavery, YouTube

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