Kelvin MacKenzie’s comments about Channel 4 News journalist Fatima Manji have been widely condemned. A statement from Channel 4 News made clear the broadcaster’s view:
"The comments published in The Sun today by Mr MacKenzie are offensive, completely unacceptable and arguably tantamount to inciting religious and even racial hatred."
Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), was similarly unimpressed:
"To suggest that a journalist is incapable of reporting on a terrorist outrage because of the colour of her skin, her religion or the clothes that she wears says all you need to know about the contemptible views of Kelvin MacKenzie. His feigned moral outrage is the language of racial hatred and bigotry."
As well as a torrent of criticism on social media and 300 complaints to the press regulator, MacKenzie was also criticised by Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi who wrote to The Sun’s editor Tony Gallagher deploring what she called MacKenzie's "respectable racism" and his attempt to "demonise" all Mulims:
"This divisive column which again is an attempt to "other" the Muslim community may sell a few papers but the consequences are felt by ordinary people in Britain who are the victims of daily tragic incidents of hate crime… Journalists should be held accountable for …writing which simply perpetuates stereotypes, demonises and attempts to hold a whole community accountable for the actions of an individual. It’s this kind of ‘respectable’ racism which feeds the far right and legitimises the fallout we have all too sadly seen on our streets in recent weeks."
Even at The Sun it seems there were some who had second thoughts about MacKenzie's article. A tweet publicising the piece disappeared shortly after the backlash began.
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