David Starkey resigns from Portsmouth's Mary Rose Museum after offensive slavery comments

A BROADCASTER and historian has resigned from the board of a city museum after he was widely criticised for offensive comments he made on slavery during an online show.

Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 8:16 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd July 2020, 9:47 am
Dr David Starkey

Dr David Starkey will no longer serve on the board for the Mary Rose Museum after he claimed that slavery was not genocide because of the survival of ‘so many damn blacks’ on a YouTube show hosted by conservative commentator Darren Grimes, entitled Dr David Starkey: Black Lives Matter Aims To Delegitimate British History.

During the discussion, Dr Starkey said: ‘Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there? You know, an awful lot of them survived.’

He also said that the Black Lives Matter protests, following the death of George Floyd in the USA, had been marked by ‘violence’ and ‘victimhood’ and that the pulling down of statues was ‘deranged’.

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The comments have been criticised across social media, including former chancellor Sajid Javid who tweeted that the comments ‘were a reminder of the appalling views that still exist’.

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A spokeswoman for the Mary Rose Trust said: ‘Dr David Starkey has been a long serving member of the Mary Rose Board and has given his Tudor expertise generously to help with the creation and promotion of the Mary Rose Museum. We remain extremely grateful for this help.

‘However, we were appalled to hear Dr Starkey’s public comments on slavery today. Mary Rose Trust is a charity that exists for the benefit of everyone and we have zero tolerance for such comments. The Board of the Mary Rose Trust has therefore accepted Dr Starkey’s resignation.

‘The Mary Rose Trust will make no further statement on this.’

Dr Starkey’s remarks could also see him lose his Honorary Fellowship at Fitzwilliam College, part of Cambridge University.

In a statement, the college said: ‘We support and promote freedom of speech in our academic community, but we have zero tolerance of racism.

‘Dr David Starkey's recent comments on slavery are indefensible.

‘Fitzwilliam was founded upon values of fairness and mutual respect and we are proud of the College’s inclusive and diverse membership.

‘The matter of Dr Starkey's Honorary Fellowship will be considered by the Governing Body at its meeting next Wednesday.’

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