Canterbury Christ Church University has bowed to pressure from students and labour unions to sack Historian David Starkey, after the visiting professor claimed in an interview that ‘slavery was not genocide’ because ‘so many damn blacks live in Africa and Britain’.
The 75-year-old academic who is a visiting professor at the university, made the comments during an online interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes for YouTube channel Reasoned UK.
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 sparked a backlash online, even British-Nigerian historian David Olusoga reacted, tweeting, ‘This is truly disgusting. And by the same ridiculous, twisted logic the Holocaust would not be counted as a genocide.’
The university has now put out a statement announcing the professor’s sack while apologizing to students and staff of the school.
In a statement today Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam College 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.
‘Honorary fellows have the same responsibility as all members of our college to uphold our values.’
Vice-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University Professor Rama has also apologised.
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.’