Charlene White has detailed the “upsetting” racist abuse she has received as a result of not wearing a poppy while appearing on television.
The TV presenter made the comments in ITV documentary Trevor McDonald & Charlene White: Has George Floyd Changed Britain?, which she starred in alongside broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald.
White said she made the decision “a long time ago” not to wear a poppy around Remembrance Day because she does not want to support one charitable cause over others, although she does wear one when off screen.
“As a result, somebody who was a member of the English Defence League encouraged his supporters to abuse me in any which way they could find me and they started a ‘sack the slag’ campaign, which did grow online,” she said.
“And there were people saying I should be sacked because I was refusing to wear a poppy, I should do as I’m told, that I should go back to where I come from.
“But interestingly, those presenters who are not black and who are not women do not get nearly a fraction of the abuse that I get online.”
White added: “I don’t get upset by many things, especially racism, because it’s something I have experienced my entire life, but it was hard and it was upsetting at that time.”
The programme saw White and Sir Trevor explore the impact on the UK of the killing of George Floyd in the US last year, and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests.
Conservative politician James Cleverly, former footballer John Barnes and Bristol mayor Marvin Rees appeared in the programme to discuss racism in the UK today.
Sir Trevor said in the documentary he thinks progress will be made on racism.
“I have no real idea what the future will bring, but I know societies never stay static for too long,” he said.
“There are movements, so I think change is inevitable in many ways.
“Precisely how it will happen and how quickly it will happen I have no idea, but it will.”
He added there is “no denying” that Mr Floyd’s death has “prompted a conversation we’ve never had before” on race in the UK.