‘Forgiveness’ Is Important, Broadcaster Says After David Starkey Issues Apology

July 8, 2020 Updated: July 17, 2020

Darren Grimes, British host of YouTube show “Reasoned,” said he learned about the importance of “forgiveness,” after historian David Starkey’s comments on his show sparked controversy and triggered universities and publishers to cut ties with the 75-year-old scholar.

When asked to react to Starkey’s later apology, Grimes told talkRADIO‘s Dan Wootton on Tuesday:

“What I thought when I read that statement was about the importance of forgiveness. … [F]orgiveness and being able to accept someone saying ‘I am sorry for what I said. I did wrong, I did a bad thing.’

“It sounds really reductive and like a really simplistic thing to say, but I think all too often, we are all too willing to eradicate someone entirely without hearing them out. So I hope people have heard him out.”

The Mirror reported on Monday that David Starkey issued a statement apologising for his “damn blacks” comment. He said it was “awful clumsiness” to use the “deplorably inflammatory” words.

“During the interview, I used the phrase ‘so many damn blacks’. It was intended to emphasise—in hindsight with awful clumsiness—the numbers who survived the horrors of the slave trade. Instead, it came across as a term of racial abuse. This, in the present atmosphere, where passions are high and feelings raw, was deplorably inflammatory,” the statement reads.

“It was a bad mistake. I am very sorry for it and I apologise unreservedly for the offence it caused. I have also paid a heavy price for one offensive word with the loss of every distinction and honour acquired in a long career.”

Starkey said the word was a misrepresentation of his view on race and multiculturalism.

“This misunderstanding of my words in no way reflects my views or practice on race. I have lived and worked happily and without conflict in multicultural London for almost 50 years, and I spent much of the podcast discussing bi-culturalism as a key to the success of Britain’s multicultural society.

“But that success is founded in turn on Britain’s multi-national history, in which for the last three hundred years previously excluded groups have been incorporated, with struggle but without revolution, into the political nation as full and valued citizens.”

However, Starkey hoped his poor choice of words would not restrict open discussion of history.

“I believe a nation’s history is the only basis for its present and future. Which is why I have devoted my whole career to studying and teaching it and trying to understand it better. …

“Central also to British history is a tradition of free speech. If that tradition is suppressed on questions of race, resentments will fester rather than disappear.

“My principal regret is that my blundering use of language and the penalty it has incurred will further restrict the opportunities for proper debate. For it is only open debate that will heal the divisions in our society that the Black Lives Matter movement has both exposed and expressed.”