TV presenter Rachel Riley draws flak on social media for calling Jeremy Corbyn 'racist endeavour'

Netizens demand her removal from Channel 4 after she was spotted wearing a T-shirt with photoshopped image of Corbyn

Rachel Riley
Rachel Riley wearing the controversial T-shirt Twitter

Amid rising voices demanding her removal from Channel 4, TV presenter Rachel Riley, who sparked controversy after wearing a T-shirt with doctored photo of Jeremy Corbyn terming his a racist, says she doesn't regret her action.

The heavily pregnant presenter, expecting her first child with husband Pascha Kovalev, was spotted leaving the Salford, Great Manchester based ITV studio wearing the controversial T-Shirt. The incident took place on the day when 'Jeremy Corbyn, the labour leader was to take part in a TV debate with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

What was the original placard?

The white coloured T-shirt wore by the Jewish presenter had a photoshopped picture of the Labour leader, wearing a placard around his neck, being taken away by two police officers. The placard in Corbyn's neck read: 'Jeremy Corbyn Is A Racist Endeavour.' It was in response to the posters which surfaced in London stating Israel as a racist endeavour.

The image was edited using Corbyn's original photograph taken during the anti-apartheid protest in London in 1984. He had just completed his one-year term as the MP. In the original picture, the placard around Corbyn's neck read- 'Defend The Right To Demonstrate Against Apartheid Join This Picket.'

Posting her picture on twitter and expressing her resentment towards the party leader, Riley wrote: "I didn't feel comfortable knowing my workplace was to be full of racists tonight. I don't endorse Boris, but I do endorse #NeverCorbyn. Please see my pinned thread if you still don't understand why."

Corbyn a 'principled anti-racist'

Soon after, the social media went abuzz with netizens asking Riley's removal from the channel. The hashtag #sackRachelRiley soon started trending on social media. One user tweeted: 'My grandfather was a survivor of the holocaust. My family have learned from history to fight against all forms of racism. Rachel Riley is disgraceful for attacking Corbyn – a principled anti-racist – in the way she has.'

'So, @Channel4, how long are you going to let your employee get away with this sort of thing? Countdown is becoming unwatchable for A LOT of people now #SackRachelRiley.' Posted anther.

Andrew Feinstein, a former member of South Africa's parliament for ex-president Nelson Mandela's African National Congress party, tweeted: "As a former MP under Nelson Mandela, as the son of a Holocaust survivor who lost 39 members of her family in the camps, as an Sth African anti-racist, I find what Rachel Riley has done offensive, appalling & deeply repugnant."

Anti-Jewish racism

Replying to her haters, the Countdown presenter, in a series of tweets posted: "The ease at which large swathes of people can be mobilised into group hate, for highlighting Corbyn's history of racism using an image of his arrest as part of an extreme group cited as damaging the mainstream anti-apartheid movement, is just one reason Jewish people are worried."

"Trying to brand me as racist for this, whist lauding themselves as anti-racist heroes, shows just how little regard many people have for anti-Jewish racism, and why I and many others speak so loudly. It's a hatred which unites the far right, far left and is having a resurgence," she wrote. "I won't dignify this with any further response & I won't tolerate abuse from those who choose to rank one form of racism over another, that's hypocrisy. They're all unacceptable."

It is not for the first time that Riley has criticised Corbyn. She has been an active critic of Labour party's handling of anti-Semitism and Corbyn failure of properly handling the issue.