UK historian quits Cambridge post after slavery remarks

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LONDON (AP) — British historian and TV presenter David Starkey relinquished his honorary fellowship at a University of Cambridge college Friday after he drew outrage for his comments about Black people and whether slavery should be considered genocide.

Starkey said in an interview for a YouTube show posted online Tuesday: “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn Blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?”

“An awful lot of them survived and again, there’s no point in arguing against globalization or Western civilization. They are all products of it, we are all products of it,” he added.

The head of Fitzwilliam College at Cambridge contacted the historian following his remarks on the YouTube channel Reasoned UK. Starkey resigned from his position with immediate effect Friday.

Fitzwilliam College issued a statement saying that although Starkey did not hold a teaching position, honorary fellows have the same responsibility as all college members to uphold its values.

“Fitzwilliam prides itself in leading the way in Cambridge in opening access to higher education for under-represented groups,” the statement read. “Our student and academic bodies are diverse and welcoming to all. We do not tolerate racism.”

Others associated with the historian swiftly distanced themselves from him. His publisher, Harper Collins, said it would not publish future books by Starkey and that people in the company “unreservedly condemn” the “abhorrent” remarks he made in the interview.

Canterbury Christ Church University also terminated Starkey’s role as visiting professor, saying his comments were “completely unacceptable”.

In the interview, Starkey also said that an “honest teaching” of the British Empire would characterize the territories Britain claimed as colonies and protectorates as “the first key stage of our globalization. It is probably the most important moment in human history and it is still with us.”

Starkey, a well-known television personality in Britain, has published more than 20 books, including many on the Tudors.

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