Loose Women’s Charlene White has quit as the host of the Society Of Editors’ National Press Awards after its recent statement which claimed that the UK press is ‘not racist’.
The Society of Editors released its controversial statement after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey this week, in which they spoke about the effect the UK press has had on them.
Charlene has since stepped down in her role as judge, making her reasons clear in a letter to executive director Ian Murray.
The 40-year-old said (via HuffPost): ‘Following your recent comments regarding race and the UK press, I have decided to no longer make myself available to present the Society Of Editors’ British Press Awards this month.
‘A few years ago, your organisation approached me to become a judge for its awards and to work alongside you because at that time it was hugely lacking in terms of it being a fair reflection of the UK population. In other words, the nominations and winners list involved very few non-white journalists.
‘This is not an unusual scenario unfortunately. Over the years several organisations have been held to account for eradicating and ignoring the work of ethnic minorities professionals – and women. So, you told me you wanted that to change. In fact, we spoke at length about it.
‘But here’s the thing. I only work with organisations who practise what they preach. My time is precious, so I’d rather not waste it. Since the Black Lives Matter movement really took hold in the UK last year, every single institution in this country has had to finally look at its failings and its position in terms of how they treat ethnic minorities both inside and outside of its walls.
‘But for some unknown reason, you feel as though the UK press is exempt in that discussion.’
Charlene described herself as ‘a black woman who has consistently stood up for what she believes in, irrespective of the impact it would have on my career’.
She added: ‘So perhaps it’s best for you to look elsewhere for a host for your awards this year. Perhaps someone whose views align with yours: that the UK press is the one institution in the entire country who has a perfect record on race.’
The presenter confirmed the move on Twitter, simply adding: ‘Yep, that’s right…’
Following Meghan and Harry’s interview, the Society of Editors released a statement which read: ‘The UK media is not bigoted and will not be swayed from its vital role holding the rich and powerful to account following the attack on the press by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’
However, many have objected to the statement, with the board later issuing another statement to clarify.
‘The Society of Editors has a proud history of campaigning for freedom of speech and the vital work that journalists do in a democracy to hold power to account,’ it added.
‘Our statement on Meghan and Harry was made in that spirit but did not reflect what we all know: that there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion.
‘We will reflect on the reaction our statement prompted and work towards being part of the solution.’
Charlene recently spoke out about the Meghan and Harry interview, when she and fellow Loose Women star Jane Moore clashed during the show.
In the interview, Meghan and Harry revealed that a member of the royal family ‘expressed concern’ about the skin tone of baby Archie while Meghan was still pregnant.
Talking about the moment, Jane started the conversation and said: ‘Meghan has very much said it’s her truth, or their truth. The question remains whether it’s the truth of the institution. Some of the things said in this interview are very, very serious.’
Going on to add that she felt Harry and Meghan’s claims were ‘vague’ – particularly as they didn’t name the Royal in question, Jane continued: ‘I think everybody watching has got someone from the older generation that sometimes says something that’s very inappropriate or maybe casually racist, not necessarily meaning it to be or understanding it is.’
Jane added that it could have possibly been an enquiry into what the baby will look like, similar to wondering if they had ginger hair like Harry’s.
Charlene then spoke out and said that ‘casual’ racism isn’t OK, and added: ‘But that’s not what Meghan has said, she said there were concerns about the colour of their son’s skin. So there’s a difference between… You perhaps would be ok with casual racism.’
Jane then stepped in and insisted that wasn’t what she meant or said.
Metro.co.uk has contacted the Society of Editors and reps for Charlene White for further comment.
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