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Ngozi Fulani steps down as CEO of Sistah Space over wave of abuse in wake of palace race row

‘The service users and the community can’t access us properly,’ Ms Fulani said on International Women’s Day.

Nadine White
Race Correspondent
Wednesday 08 March 2023 10:51 GMT
Palace race incident was abuse, says charity boss Ngozi Fulani

Black charity boss Ngozi Fulani is stepping down as CEO of Sistah Space, blaming racist abuse she received following the Buckingham Palace race row.

The activist said the charity for Black women survivors of domestic abuse had suffered as a result of the row, which saw senior royal aide Lady Susan Hussey, 83, interrogate her about where she was “really from?” at an event in November.

Ms Fulani told Good Morning Britain that she had been subjected to “violence” following the incident and claimed the palace hadn’t done anything to help.

Sistah Space was “forced to temporarily cease” many of its operations in December after Ms Fulani spoke out about her treatment by Lady Hussey, who later resigned as a royal aide.

“I’ve now temporarily stepped down as CEO of Sistah Space,” Ms Fulani announced on Wednesday. “Sistah Space charity has suffered as a direct result (...) because of this incident, violence has been directed to me. The palace hasn’t intervened - I think they could have. (...).

“The service users and the community can’t access us properly. This whole thing has cost us a fortune because we had to pay our own PR to stop the press from coming up, it was horrible.”

Ms Fulani said Lady Susan’s comments, made during a Buckingham Palace reception last November, were down to racism.

Buckingham Palace issued a statement after the two women met at the royal residence in December when Lady Susan reportedly apologised in person.

“Ms Fulani, who has unfairly received the most appalling torrent of abuse on social media and elsewhere, has accepted this apology and appreciates that no malice was intended,” the statement read.

“Sistah Space charity has suffered as a direct result. (...) Because of this incident, violence has been directed to me. The palace hasn’t intervened - I think they could have.” (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Buckingham Palace said the royal households, which already had “inclusion and diversity” initiatives, would begin an “enhanced programme of work which will extend knowledge and training programmes, examining what can be learnt from Sistah Space,” an organisation providing support for African and Caribbean heritage women affected by abuse.

A royal source said these pledges have all been honoured by the palace but Sistah Space disputes this.

Moreover, Ms Fulani insisted that she has yet to receive an apology directly from the palace and suggested that royal remorse over the incident was merely referenced in the statement.

“‘I’m just making the point so that everybody understands what is so hard to say I’m sorry,” Ms Fulani added. “You sent me the invitation so you know how to find me. You know how to say sorry.

“If you’re sorry then say sorry, if you’re not, I get it. But when you make this apology to everybody, I don’t know who you’re apologising to.”

Since the incident, Lady Hussey, who is godmother to the Prince of Wales, was seen representing Princess Anne at a memorial service for a former lady in waiting to the Queen Mother last month.

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