The Children’s Laureate Had To Leave Twitter Because She Received Racist Abuse

Malorie Blackman copped some really nasty abuse due to an inaccurate headline.

1. Malorie Blackman was appointed Children’s Laureate in 2013.


She’s written a whole bunch of novels and scripts for children and young adults, and has a devoted readership.

2. On Sunday, she gave an interview with Sky News about the need for more ethnic diversity in kids’ books.


She talked about the impact on kids from black and ethnic minorities when they don’t see themselves in the books they’re reading: “I think it is saying, well, you may be here, but do you really belong?”

3. And she went on to say:

That’s not to say that children and young adults only want to read about themselves. Of course not – you want to escape into fiction as well and read about other people, other cultures, other lives, other planets, and so on.

4. However, these views were misrepresented by the now-deleted headline with which Sky titled the interview.

5. She was quick to respond.

Disappointing but not surprising how many people never get past sensationalist headlines.

— Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman)

7. Sky swiftly apologised.

@malorieblackman @SkySuchet Our headline writers are changing that Malorie and pass on their apologies. All the best

— James Matthews (@jamesmatthewsky)

@SkySuchet @malorieblackman I have read it, and agree. But that doesn't stop Malorie from now being misquoted all over the world...

— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat)

@Joannechocolat @malorieblackman of course ur 100% right. That's why errors are unforgivable in our industry. An apology rarely suffices.

— Richard Suchet (@SkySuchet)

10. But it was too late. Blackman received a torrent of racist abuse, and had to leave Twitter. She has since returned to the social network.


In a series of tweets, she wrote: “Wow! I’m so overwhelmed and humbled by the messages of support and love I’ve received since I posted my last tweet. I only meant to take a few days break to write an article about this whole issue. Racists and haters will never make me run away. Ever! Hell will freeze over before I let racists and haters silence me. In fact, they just proved to me that I was right to speak out.”

In an interview earlier this year, Blackman said she was told by a careers adviser that “black people don’t become teachers”, and said she thought to herself, “I’ll show you, you old cow.”

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Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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