This Morning’s Eamonn Holmes condemned for asking Femi Oluwole if he has an ‘issue’ with the word ‘slave’ during ‘Rule Britannia’ debate

‘Today Eamonn Holmes told me what I should find racist, and Nigel Farage called me an extremist,’ activist Oluwole tweeted

Adam White
Wednesday 26 August 2020 16:07
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Eamonn Holmes asks Black Lives Matter activist if he has a problem with the use of the word 'slave'

Eamonn Holmes has been condemned for asking a This Morning guest whether he has an “issue” with the use of the word “slave”.

On today’s episode of This Morning (26 August), presenters Holmes and Ruth Langsford hosted political activist Femi Oluwole and Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, in a discussion on “Rule Britannia”.

The song has been at the centre of controversy in recent days, following reports that the BBC were planning to exclude it from The Last Night of the Proms due to its association with slavery and colonialism. Boris Johnson and a number of right-wing press outlets have condemned the plans.

That is despite the BBC explaining that an instrumental version of the song was only to be used as the Proms are occurring without an audience and fewer professional singers due to Covid-19. They also confirmed that it will be sung at the 2021 Proms.

Throughout the This Morning discussion, Oluwole was repeatedly described as someone eager to “re-write history”, despite Oluwole’s protests that the “Rule Britannia” controversy had been kicked off as a deliberate distraction from issues of greater importance.

“This narrative is being driven by the BBC, the same BBC that took two weeks to apologise for using the N-word on a live news broadcast,” Oluwole claimed. “The idea that this represents the fight for racial equality is laughable … People marched in the streets about Black Lives Matter. Not one of those people were marching about ‘Rule Britannia’.”

During one moment in the discussion, Holmes said that the word “slave” is also used in the Irish national anthem, and asked Oluwole if he had a problem with it.

After Oluwole asked for the context with which the word is used in the anthem, Holmes shot back: “I’m asking you [if] you have an explanation of the context. Because every time the ‘s’ word seems to be used, you have an issue with it.”

“It’s an issue within the context of ‘Rule Britannia’,” Oluwole replied. “On the basis that we were bragging about being in a position of enslaving other countries while not ourselves being enslaved.”

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Holmes then interrupted Oluwole to ask Farage whether we should have an “issue” with all national anthems.

Eamonn Holmes, Femi Oluwole and Nigel Farage on today’s episode of ‘This Morning’

On Twitter, Holmes was widely condemned for his treatment of Oluwole.

“Eamonn Holmes asking @Femi_Sorry why the word ‘Slave’ offends him is a new level of stupidity for Eamonn ‘Not quite Sherlock’ Holmes,” wrote one tweet.

Another person tweeted that Holmes and Farage were “f***ing patronising b******s”. Another wrote: “I’m disgusted, Eamonn Holmes asking a black man why he’s offended by the word ‘slave’ ?! vile!!!”

Other viewers expressed further empathy towards Oluwole.

“Embarrassing to see the treatment of @Femi_Sorry on This Morning. Constantly spoken over by Eamonn and Ruth, being called an ‘extremist’ by Nigel Farage while he was making good points about BLM and how politicians are using ‘Rule Britannia’ to distract from their actions.”

In his own tweet, Oluwole appeared to mock the experience, writing: “Today @EamonnHolmes told me what I should find racist, and @Nigel_Farage called me an extremist. Later, I’ll probably go give a lecture on why Brexit is a good thing.”

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