Jane Moore sparked uproar on Loose Women last week as the panel discussed Meghan Markle’s sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In scenes that aired on Monday, the presenters engaged in a tense discussion about the Duchess’s claims that a senior member of the Royal family ‘expressed concern’ about the skin tone of baby Archie while she was pregnant with him.
‘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 said, in an apparent defending of racist remarks.
She 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 White, the only Black member of the panel on that day, was left to remind Jane and viewers that not even ‘casual’ racism is acceptable.
Since the discussion aired seven days ago there has been no utterance Jane or from Loose Women about the events. In fact, Jane returned to the programme later that week, alongside Charlene, and there was no mention of her comments. Her Instagram and her Twitter accounts have also been silent on the matter.
Does that mean ITV believe that ‘casual racism’ is OK? Hopefully not, but by not addressing it and stamping out the idea that any kind of racism is acceptable makes the broadcaster passive in the face of racism – which isn’t a good thing. By keeping quiet and waiting for the news cycle to move on, it is complacent and reinstates the idea that there is no issue.
The topic of racism is an awkward and difficult conversation to have and this, on top of fears of saying the wrong thing, can be a reason for white people to avoid speaking up altogether. It’s clear that in this instance, Jane said the wrong thing.
But this should now be the catalyst of another conversation – for her to hold her hands up and admit that her words were not acceptable. And that’s OK. It’s OK to slip up and make these mistakes. Nobody learns if nobody makes mistakes, but if you’re making these mistakes on a national platform, you have to be held accountable for your actions.
Sadly, Jane’s comment only triggered a pitiful 324 complaints to the television watchdog Ofcom, which pales in comparison to the 41,000 Piers Morgan was bombarded with for doubting Meghan was suicidal.
But these complaints should be reason enough to prompt an apology.
Viewers also flooded her Instagram post from the day of the episode to air their upset. ‘There’s no such thing as casual racism,’ one viewer wrote. ‘Racism is racism… so disappointed with your comments.’ ‘Why are we excusing the older generation for any form of racism, casual or not?!’ another added.
Last year, ITV announced its Diversity Acceleration Plan with the mission to accelerate change in diversity and inclusion on screen and across ITV by creating more opportunities for those from Black, Asian, minority ethnic and other underrepresented groups. Loose Women also welcomed an all-Black presenting line-up for the first time in its 22-year history in October and was praised by audiences for doing so.
All these moves are redundant, however, when you’re not calling out and correcting contentious race-related issues when they happen.
It’s beyond disappointing to see that neither Jane nor ITV has apologised when they so clearly need to be addressed. In the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter movement, their silence is deafening and signals all the wrong things.
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.
Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview: Key moments
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have spoken to Oprah Winfrey in a bombshell interview about their decision to step back as senior working members of the Royal Family.
Here are the key points from the interview, which UK viewers can watch at 9pm on ITV on Monday, March 8.
- Meghan says it was Kate who made her cry over flower girls, not other way round
- Meghan says Harry was told there were ‘concerns how dark’ Archie would be
- Harry and Meghan reveal the gender of their baby due in summer
- Meghan sobs as she says pressures of royal life drove her to the verge of suicide
- Prince Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls after he quit Royal Family
- Harry says Meghan saved him from being ‘trapped’ like Prince Charles and Prince William are
- Princess Diana would be ‘sad and angry about how this has panned out’
- Meghan and Harry share adorable new video of son Archie at the beach
- Harry confirms terrible rift with William and says their relationship is now just ‘space’
- Queen ‘ghosted Harry during Megxit talks and got aide to say she was too busy’