Newsreader Loses His Job of 30 Years For Quoting Shakespeare at a Black Person

Passage referred to "angry ape," but had previously been directed at a white person.

Veteran British newsreader Alastair Stewart has lost his job of 30 years after quoting a Shakespeare passage to a black man that included the word “ape,” despite the fact that he had previously directed the same tweet to a white person.

Broadcaster ITN said Stewart had made “errors of judgment” is his use of social media that breached editorial guidelines.

The controversy was over a Twitter response Stewart sent to a black man in which he quoted a passage from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure;

Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

“Just had an @ITV newsreader referring to me as an ape with the cover of Shakespeare,” tweeted Martin Shapland in response. “Measure for measure, Alistair is a disgrace.”

However, another Twitter user pointed out that Stewart had used the same passage before and directed towards a white person.

“It was a misjudgement which I regret,” said Stewart.

The host has been working with ITV since 1980 and started fronting the news nine years later.

That means he’s lost a position that lasted 40 years after a single controversy over a tweet that wasn’t even intended to be racist.


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