Newsreader Receives Racist Abuse From English Defence League Supporters For Not Wearing A Poppy

Charlene White had enough of the hate. So she decided to explain her thinking.

1. ITV London newsreader Charlene White has received racist abuse for not wearing a poppy in the run-up to Remembrance Day.

Capital Captures / Via

White never wears a Royal British Legion poppy while presenting local news bulletins. She says that every year she receives abuse saying she is disrespecting those who died in conflict.

But the newsreader says this year has been worse than usual, largely due to Twitter and Facebook campaigns.

2. Channel 4 newsreader John Snow also refuses to wear the symbol on air, in protest at “poppy fascism”.

Channel 4 / Via

Snow has said British soliders fought in World War II so he could choose what symbols to adopt.

3. But White says her decision is not political – and she is happy to wear a poppy off-screen.

I support and am patron of a number of charities and I am uncomfortable with giving one of those charities more on-screen time than others.

Off-screen in my private life - it’s different. I wear a red ribbon at the start of December for World Aids Day, a pink ribbon in October during breast cancer awareness month, a badge in April during Bowel Cancer Awareness month, and yes – a poppy on Armistice Day.

4. But she was still surprised by the level of abuse.

The messages of “go back to where you came from” have been interesting to read, as have the “fat s—g” comments, and the repeated use of the phrase “black c—t”.

6. A lot of the abuse came from Twitter accounts that proclaim links to the far-right English Defence League.

Some left-wing sites that monitor the EDL have suggested the organisation’s members helped whip up the anger.

ITV @CharleneWhite refuses to wear a Poppy! #EMBARRASSING

— Tee كافر فخور #EDL (@TeeHouse101)

Tee كافر فخور #EDL


ITV @CharleneWhite refuses to wear a Poppy! #EMBARRASSING

/ Via

Itv london tonight presenter charlene white refuses to wear a poppy she should be sacked for her pathetic reasons

— Sco defence league (@gwalker1312)

Sco defence league


Itv london tonight presenter charlene white refuses to wear a poppy she should be sacked for her pathetic reasons

/ Via

9. Meanwhile, other members of the public waded in on her Facebook page.

10. Some posters had their own theories on what the war was about.

11. And some struggled to deal with the fact that Charlene White was born in England, the daughter of a Royal Air Force serviceman and went to school in South London.

12. All of which is an unpleasant sideshow in the week that millions of Britons – poppy or no poppy – paid tribute to the those who died while serving in the armed forces.

Darrin Zammit Lupi / Reuters

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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