Street-Porter apologises for swearing at neighbour but denies being racist

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The Independent Online

The broadcaster and journalist Janet Street-Porter has apologised "unreservedly" for swearing at a neighbour but denied she had used racist language.

The former I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here contestant confirmed that she had sworn at her neighbour, Julie Mbemba, during an altercation late last year outside her home in Clerkenwell, central London.

Ms Street-Porter, 59, who is editor-at-large of The Independent on Sunday, said she had been distressed because she was returning from the funeral of her sister, who died in November last year.

But the broadcaster, who was arrested on Tuesday in connection with an alleged racially aggravated public order offence and released on police bail, strongly denied making any racist remark.

In a statement, Ms Street-Porter said: "In the interests of good neighbourliness I want to apologise unreservedly to Ms Mbemba for swearing at her and causing her distress.

"I was unloading my car boot with my front door open, in tears, totally distraught as I had just buried my darling sister after a terrible illness which has had a devastating effect on me. That does not excuse losing my temper and swearing at Ms Mbemba. I totally refute, however, any allegation that I made a racist remark to her on that or any other occasion.

"As I have already said, my track record is such that it is obvious I abhor racism in any form."

Friends have been quick to defend Ms Street-Porter against any allegations of racism, pointing to her work in promoting multi-cultural television.

Her solicitors said she expected to be vindicated.

One friend said last night: "Janet regrets what she said but she was having a bad day.

"She was under extreme stress as it was the day of her sister's funeral."