TV historian steps down from Mary Rose Trust amid racism storm

In an internet video, David Starkey said slavery was not genocide because otherwise there 'wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain'

David Starkey (Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
David Starkey (Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The historian David Starkey has resigned as a trustee of the Mary Rose Trust after making racist remarks during an appearance on a YouTube show. 

In a statement on Twitter last night, the trust said it had a “zero-tolerance” approach to racism and had accepted Starkey’s resignation. 

It is not clear whether the charity had requested Starkey’s resignation, or whether he had offered it.

Starkey made the offensive comments in an episode of an online show hosted by the conservative commentator Darren Grimes, which was released on Tuesday

In the video, Starkey said: “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there? You know, an awful lot of them survived.”

The Portsmouth-based charity, which oversees the museum displaying the Tudor warship the Mary Rose, said in a statement that it was “appalled” by Starkey’s comments. 

“The Mary Rose Trust is a charity that exists for the benefit of everyone and we have zero tolerance for such comments,” it said. 

“The board of the Mary Rose Trust has therefore accepted Dr Starkey’s resignation.”

The statement added that Starkey had been a long-serving member of the board and that the charity remained “extremely grateful” for his expertise and help with the creation and promotion of the museum.

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