THE celebrity historian Dr David Starkey’s career lies in ruins, with him set to lose all his academic titles and book deals, after making he comments about slavery in which he referred to “damn blacks”.
Dr Starkey, who rose to prominence in the early 2000s for his writing and documentaries on Tudor politics, argued in an interview that slavery cannot be considered genocide because “otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain”.
On Friday he lost his academic positions at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and Canterbury Christ Church University, while his role as a visiting fellow at the University of Buckingham has been placed under review.
Lancaster and Kent universities both said they were reviewing his honorary graduate status.
The news came as Dr Starkey’s publisher, HarperCollins, which was expected to publish two more of his history books, said it was cancelling their release.
Hodder and Stoughton, which has published the historian in the past, said it would never work with him again.
The Mary Rose Trust, a charity that runs a museum in Portsmouth, yesterday accepted Dr Starkey’s resignation from its board, while he faced calls for his CBE to be stripped from him.
“He’s been saying this stuff for years, said Dr Louise Raw, another historian.
“It’s only because of the work of #BlackLivesMatter that it’s being taken more seriously.”
“Personally believe he should lose his CBE too.”
The Tudor historian found himself at the centre of a row over Black Lives Matter Credit: Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph
Dr Starkey’s various sackings follow widespread anger over comments he made about slavery in an online discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement.
In an interview with the conservative commentator Darren Grimes, the historian said slavery could not be classed as genocide because of the survival of “so many damn blacks”.
“Slavery was not genocide,” he said.
“Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there?
“An awful lot of them survived.”
Dr Starkey went on to discuss the relationship between slavery and the British Empire.
“As for the idea that slavery is this kind of terrible disease that dare not speak its name, it only dare not speak its name, Darren, because we settled it nearly 200 years ago,” he said.
“We don’t normally go on about the fact that Roman Catholics once upon a time didn’t have the vote and weren’t allowed to have their own churches because we had Catholic emancipation.”
A clip of the interview was posted online and generated hundreds of angry comments, many of which condemned the historian as a racist.
Sajid Javid, the former Chancellor, called the comments “appalling”.
Mr Grimes has since acknowledged he “should have robustly questioned Dr Starkey about his comments” and has removed the clip from his website.
Sir Anthony Seldon, Dr Starkey’s employer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, condemned the historian for his comments.
“It’s just not acceptable, what he said,” he told The Telegraph.
“With freedom of speech goes responsibility. It’s not an absolute right, and you cannot thoughtlessly provoke and incite and inflame, particularly at such a sensitive time.
“The absence of any apology from him, I think is extremely disappointing.”
Canterbury Christ Church University, who sacked Dr Starkey on Friday morning, said his comments were “completely unacceptable”.
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge underlined its own opposition to racism and said honorary fellows had a responsibility to “uphold our values”.
Dr Starkey previously provoked outrage after appearing on television in the aftermath of the 2011 London riots to say “the whites have become black” and condemn ”destructive, nihilistic gangster culture”.
The BBC received almost 900 complaints, which Dr Starkey said showed the subject of race had become “unmentionable”.
He has since appeared on several of the corporation’s programmes, including Question Time.
The BBC declined to comment on Dr Starkey’s interview.
Dr Starkey did not respond to requests for comment.
(Source: The Telegraph)