Publishers cut ties with David Starkey after 'abhorrent' comments

Publishers cut ties with David Starkey after 'abhorrent' comments

HarperCollins says it will no longer publish books by historian David Starkey and is reviewing his backlist, describing his recent comments on slavery as “abhorrent”. Vintage and Hodder & Stoughton have also said they will not publish further books from him.

In an interview with right-wing commentator Darren Grime broadcast online this week, Starkey claimed “slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn blacks in Africa or in Britain would there? You know, an awful lot of them survived.”

The comments led to a fierce backlash with Canterbury Christ Church University terminating Starkey's position as visiting professor. The historian has also resigned from his honorary fellowship at Fitzwilliam College.

Today (3rd July), HarperCollins announced it would sever ties with him. The publisher signed a four-book deal with the historian back in 2006, most recently releasing Crown and Country in 2010.

A spokesperson said: "The views expressed by David Starkey in his recent interview are abhorrent and we unreservedly condemn them. Our last book with the author was in 2010, and we will not be publishing further books with him. We are reviewing his existing backlist in light of his comments and views."

Hodder & Stoughton, which published his book Magna Carta in 2015, also distanced itself from the author.

A spokesman said: “We unequivocally condemn racism in any form. We published a book by David Starkey in 2015 as a one-off project to mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta to coincide with a TV documentary. We will not be publishing any further books by him.”

Meanwhile Vintage said in a statement: "Vintage last published a book by David Starkey in 2004, and we are reviewing the status of the three catalogue titles we have in print on the Vintage backlist in light of his abhorrent comments. We do not tolerate racism and will not be publishing any further books by him."

Starkey previously caused uproar in 2011 following the London riots when he told “Newsnight”: “ The whites have become black—a particular sort of violent destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become the fashion.”