David Starkey dropped by publisher HarperCollins after ‘abhorrent’ racist comments

Historian under fire for saying ‘slavery wasn’t genocide’ because ‘so many damn blacks’ survived

Ellie Harrison
Friday 03 July 2020 17:43
David Starkey claims that slavery 'wasn't genocide' or there 'wouldn't be so many damn blacks'

HarperCollins has dropped its author David Starkey, describing the historian’s racist comments as “abhorrent”.

In a recent interview with Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes, while speaking about the Black Lives Matter protests, Starkey said: “Slavery was not genocide otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or Britain, would there? An awful lot of them survived.”

Starkey was widely condemned for his comments, with former chancellor Sajid Javid saying his words were “a reminder of the appalling views that still exist” in Britain. Historian David Olusoga, meanwhile, said they were “truly disgusting”.

Now HarperCollins UK has said it will not be publishing any more of Starkey’s books.

“The views expressed by David Starkey in his recent interview are abhorrent and we unreservedly condemn them,” said the publisher.

“Our last book with the author was in 2010, and we will not be publishing further books with him. We are reviewing his existing backlist in light of his comments and views.”

HarperCollins has published numerous Starkey titles including Monarchy: Behind the Royal Mask from the Tudors to the Present and Henry: Virtuous Prince.

A spokesperson for Hodder & Stoughton, which published Starkey’s 2015 book Magna Carta, also said it would not publish him again: “We unequivocally condemn racism in any form. We published a book by David Starkey in 2015 as a one-off project to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta to coincide with a TV documentary. We will not be publishing any further books by him.”

Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge University and Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent have also terminated Starkey’s honorary fellowship and visiting professorship respectively.

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