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Police reviewing whether probe into disgraced historian David Starkey’s ‘so many damn Blacks’ interview is ‘proportionate’

Lily Wakefield October 15, 2020
David Starkey and Darren Grimes

Darren Grimes (R) conducted the "racist" interview with historian David Starkey (L). (David Levenson/Getty and darrengrimes_/ Twitter)

Police are reviewing whether an investigation into an interview with David Starkey, in which he said slavery was not a genocide because “so many damn Blacks” survived, is “proportionate”.

Starkey was widely condemned in June when, in an interview with conservative commentator Darren Grimes, he claimed that slavery was not a genocide because “so many damn Blacks” survived.

He also 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.”

Earlier month, it was revealed that police were investigating Grimes on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred, after he published Starkey’s comments in a podcast interview.

In a video posted to Twitter, Grimes lashed out against the investigation said the Metropolitan Police told him in a letter that he must present for an interview and that he would be arrested if he failed to attend.

Police are now reviewing the investigation to make sure it is “proportionate”, and two scheduled interviews have been postponed.

According to The Independent, Scotland Yard said Wednesday (October 14): “On Monday (October 12), a senior officer was appointed to conduct a review of the investigation to ensure it remains proportionate and that all appropriate lines of inquiry are being considered.”

Starkey, 75, defended Grimes and said “unfortunate and grossly unfair” that he was being investigated.

He sad: “Mr Grimes is a young, aspiring journalist and his role in the affair is — at most — secondary.

“I have apologised unreservedly for the words used and I do so again today. It was a serious error for which I have already paid a significant price.

“I did not, however, intend to stir up racial hatred and there was nothing about the circumstances of the broadcast which made it likely to do so.”

Although the disgraced gay historian said he would cooperate with the police investigation, he added: “I will defend myself robustly against any allegation of criminal wrongdoing.”

Grimes, who has frequently faced backlash for invalidating trans and non-binary identities, is being given pro bono legal support by the Free Speech Union, which has defended anti-LGBT+ activist Caroline Farrow, actor Laurence Fox who called queer people “paedophiles”, and JK Rowling.

In response to the review of the investigation which has not yet been completed, The Free Speech Union declared on Twitter: “It’s over. We’ve won. But the war against Free Speech continues.”

More: Darren Grimes, David Starkey, Free Speech Union

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