Julia Hartley-Brewer: What if someone said the royal family were 'terribly black'?

Julia Hartley Brewer and Ben Jones from the Free Speech Union

TalkTV's Julia Hartley-Brewer has angrily responded to a comment by Bridgerton star Adjoa Andoh about the Buckingham Palace balcony being “terribly white”.

More than 4,000 complaints have been filed with Ofcom about the remark, which was made when the actress, 60, appeared on ITV’s live coverage of Saturday’s coronation celebrations.

Andoh, who plays Lady Agatha Danbury in the Netflix show, said: “Looking at all those young people, there is a bit of me that has gone from the rich diversity of the Abbey to the terribly white balcony. I’m very struck by that.”

Speaking to Ben Jones from the Free Speech Union, Julia said it was understandable viewers were upset.

Julia: People have a right to be angry when someone says something which, if it was another person of another race, would be construed very openly as racist.

If anyone said 'terribly black balcony', that would absolutely cause outrage as a racist comment. And yet there seems to be a free pass if it's about white people.

There's always this fear that if someone says something we don't like, we have to have them cancelled, lose their job or be punished in some way.

Ben: I can see why people are angry. People are being bombarded in their workplaces by various types of training course, be it on white privilege, or unconscious bias, and a whole suite of equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives.

So, to be bombarded by the idea you are inherently racist and have to atone for that, and then turn on the television and see somebody making that comment, is completely unthinkable.

Julia: What's interesting is that it wasn't picked up by the ITV hosts. This is being openly discussed and often endorsed by a lot of people on TV, at the BBC and others. And yet, they don't speak out when someone says something like that.

And if it isn't racist when the rules are different for different people, purely because of the colour of their skin, then I don't know what is racist.

Ben: This hypocrisy, from the remarks we saw in the different way in which the reverse racism is is tolerated, is something that people find very striking.

We desperately need to rebuild the culture of free speech in Britain right now. And what we really don't want is a tit-for-tat exchange of cancel culture from the left.