Saturday, 15 April 2017

Sun suspends Kelvin MacKenzie after racial hate complaint

The Sun has suspended Kelvin MacKenzie after Merseyside police said they were investigating a column in which he compared the footballer Ross Barkley, who is of mixed race, to a gorilla.

The paper’s former editor, who writes a weekly column, claimed he was not surprised that the Everton player, whose grandfather is Nigerian, was punched in a nightclub because he was similar to an animal in a zoo.

The paper removed the article from their website on Friday afternoon and later suspended MacKenzie. News UK, the owners of the Sun, said: “The views expressed by Kelvin MacKenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper. The Sun apologises for the offence caused. The paper was unaware of Ross Barkley’s heritage and there was never any slur intended. Mr MacKenzie is currently on holiday and the matter will be fully investigated on his return.”

Merseyside police confirmed they had launched an investigation in relation to the column after receiving an online complaint from a member of the public alleging that “comments written about a third party constituted a racial hate crime”.

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, tweeted to say he had reported the article to Merseyside police and the Press Complaints Commission for being a “racial slur”.

He also accused Everton of letting the city down by not banning the paper’s journalists from press conferences.

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