David Starkey resigns Cambridge fellowship over ‘so many damn blacks’ comment

David Starkey has resigned his honorary fellowship at a Cambridge college after he said slavery was not genocide because there are “so many damn blacks” still around.

The Master of Fitzwilliam College contacted the historian following his remarks and he has now resigned from his position with immediate effect.

Canterbury Christ Church University has also terminated Starkey’s role as visiting professor, adding that his comments are “completely unacceptable”.

Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University said it will “not tolerate racism”, adding that honorary fellows are expected to uphold the college’s values”.

Starkey made the remarks during an online interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes for YouTube channel Reasoned UK.

A Fitzwilliam College statement on Friday said: “The Master has accepted Dr David Starkey’s resignation of his honorary fellowship with immediate effect.

“Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for under-represented groups. Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.”

They added: “Honorary fellows have the same responsibility as all members of our college to uphold our values.”

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, has apologised to staff and students at the university in Kent who have been offended and upset by the “appalling” comments.

He said: “Widely reported comments by historian David Starkey during a recent online interview are, in our view, completely unacceptable and do not reflect the values of our university and community.

“We have therefore terminated, with immediate effect, Dr Starkey’s visiting professorship.

“I would like to say sorry to colleagues and students who will have been offended and upset by such comments of this appalling nature, and in particular in these challenging and difficult times for us all.”

During the interview, Starkey said: “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 and again there’s no point in arguing against globalisation or Western civilisation. They are all products of it, we are all products of it.

“The honest teaching of the British Empire is to say, quite simply, it is the first key stage of our globalisation. It is probably the most important moment in human history and it is still with us.”

The interview has sparked a backlash – including from former chancellor Sajid Javid, who said Starkey’s “racist” comments were a “reminder of the appalling views that still exist”.

Starkey has been contacted for comment.

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