Politics

Mastermind’s Clive Myrie faces more racist abuse now than during the 80s and 90s

Clive Myrie is one of the BBC’s top journalists, often presenting the prime-time news at 6pm or 10pm on BBC One.

He’s also recently taken up the mantle of presenter and question master on the hit quiz show Mastermind, replacing John Humphrys.

Despite this, as a Black man on TV in the age of social media, Clive has been on the receiving end of some abhorrent racial abuse in the last few years.

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He has spoken out against this and said that the scale of racial abuse is has been far more in the last few years than anything he has experienced before in his career spanning five decades.

Clive, 57, got started as a journalist in 1987 as a trainee local radio reporter at the BBC, his first actual reporting job being for BBC Radio Bristol, and later Points West on TV.

Clive says racism has gotten worse in recent years

In 1996 he became a Foreign Correspondent and worked across 80 different countries for the BBC until he became a BBC News presenter in 2009.

But over the course of his career, from 1988 onwards Clive has said he has seen racism directed at him get worse.

Speaking last year in June at the height of Black Lives Matter protests in the US and UK, Clive told the Guardian: “I could count on the fingers of one hand the amount of racist abuse that I received from when I started in journalism in 1988 through to about 2008, though there was a guy in the early 90s who would send faeces in the post.

“But it has picked up in the last decade and become incredibly more prevalent in the last few years. Why has that happened? I don’t know.”

In 2019 a far-right extremist who threatened to kill Clive was jailed, while Clive also received a card with a gorilla on the front which read: “We don’t want people like you on our TV screens.”

He continued: “It actually doesn’t really bother me at all. What bothers me is the general sense that we live in a country where some people think racism is either imagined, or in people’s minds, and I think that is a notion that has to be fought.

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“We’ve got problems in our own house that we need to sort out. There are a few too many people running around saying that we’re fine here, we’re not like America.”

Clive was also critical at the lack of decisive action taken to address systemic inequality across the country’s institutions.

“We’ve had God knows how many reports over the last 40 years detailing systemic racism and systemic lack of diversity across a range of institutions across British society, but nothing seems to get done,” he went on.

“Without dealing in opinion, we’ve had numerous reports and we’ve had little action done on the recommendations. One wonders what is the point of reports if the recommendations are not going to be acted on.”

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