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Stormzy accuses media of 'intentionally spinning' comments about racism

The rapper originally told an Italian newspaper that people in Britain aren't always aware of racism and that it remains "under the skin."
Image: Stormzy performs at the 2019 Global Citizen Prize in London on Dec. 13, 2019.
Stormzy performs at the 2019 Global Citizen Prize in London on Dec. 13, 2019.Tristan Fewings / Getty Images file

Rapper Stormzy accused the British media Sunday of intentionally "spinning" his comments about racism in the United Kingdom in an attention-seeking ploy to get readers.

In an interview Wednesday with La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, Stormzy, 26, said he "definitely, 100 percent" believed that racism existed in Britain. A number of news outlets picked up the comments over the weekend and misconstrued what he said to imply that Britain is 100 percent racist.

In a tweet Sunday, Stormzy accused the publications of intentionally spinning his words for clickbait.

Antonello Guerrera, the journalist who originally interviewed Stormzy, tweeted a transcript of his interview in order to provide more context. Stormzy told the journalist that racism in Britain is complex because people aren't aware of the racism and that it remains "under the skin."

"It’s a more difficult case to fight," Stormzy said in the interview. "We gotta explain, ‘this is racist, that is racist, the way this is set up is racist,’ because people just pay a blind eye."

ITV News issued an apology on Twitter for misconstruing the comments in its headlines and social media posts, though the news outlet did reproduce his full comments in the article.

"Despite this, it was felt the headline at the top of this story on our website and Twitter post did not reflect these comments fully and was therefore amended," the outlet said.

Stormzy's comments came about two weeks after a racist incident during a soccer match between Manchester City and Manchester United. Manchester City fans were caught on video throwing objects and hurling insults at two black players for United.

A similar situation occurred Sunday night at a Tottenham Hotspur game against Chelsea Football Club, in which Hotspur supporters allegedly directed racist chants toward Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger. The club said it was reviewing CCTV footage to investigate.

Both Tottenham and Manchester City have vowed that any fans caught in racist displays would be banned from stadiums.

British media outlets have been criticized previously for subtle racism in the way the duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, has been covered since her relationship with Prince Harry became public. Markle, who is biracial, has been the subject of a number of critical headlines, including one in The Daily Mirror suggesting in 2016 that she was "(almost) straight outta Compton.”

Harry released a statement in 2016, when the couple were dating but not yet married, addressing "outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments" about Markle.

The couple is now suing Associated Papers, the parent company of The Mail on Sunday, after the publication printed excerpts of a private letter Markle sent to her estranged father.