Excl: Creasy challenged over ‘racist ad’ image in parliamentary WhatsApp group

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stella creasy

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy

Labour MP Stella Creasy has been in the news over the last week after Dan Fox, her ‘boyfriend’ – as described by the Daily Mail – was accused by that paper of sending a ‘racist and abusive’ tweet about a black Jewish activist:

mail fox.png

Now the Walthamstow MP has stirred controversy herself because of a message sent earlier this week to a WhatsApp group used by over one hundred parliamentary Labour figures.

Ms Creasy sent the message – featuring a stereotypical cartoon black farm child used in a 1980s soft drink ad – to the group and was challenged by colleagues about her reasons for doing so:

creasy kia-ora w.png

The authenticity of the image has been confirmed to this blog by several Labour MPs.

Ms Creasy’s response to the query from her colleague may suggest unawareness of anything contentious in sending the image to the group, but a member of Ms Creasy’s CLP (constituency Labour party told the SKWAWKBOX:

As a black constituent of Stella’s I’m really shocked and angry that she would share this cartoon from a racist advert from the 1980s. She has a large black constituency, can she really not be aware that it would cause offence?

The Labour Party needs to take action over this. People have been suspended or removed from the party for less.

Ms Creasy was contacted for comment but not yet responded.

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53 responses to “Excl: Creasy challenged over ‘racist ad’ image in parliamentary WhatsApp group

  1. I’m obviously missing something here, can someone please explain why this advert is ‘racist’

    • Cough, cough.

      Though that begs the question, what about the missing credit on the Stella Creasy photo above? It is Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike licensed, so users like Skwawkbox must give a brief attribution.

      As it happens, that photo is mine!! So I do absolve Skwawkbox by retrospectively licensing its use in the article, but Skwawkbox should get this right. The Canary is pretty good at this by putting a very brief credit (with link to the original) at the bottom of the whole article, so minimally distracting readers. If non-profit users do not credit Creative Commons photos, harder to take the issue up with websites like the Daily Mail.

      The original, with licensing info, is:

      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stella_Creasy,_2016_Labour_Party_Conference_3.jpg

      • Thanks for the retrospective licensing! Had no idea who made it, just picked it from the library of images from old articles and still can’t find an attribution of it now (although it seems to be used by a few sites). But apologies anyway and thanks!

  2. SteveH

    The clue is in the sentence :-

    Ms Creasy sent the message – featuring…….. a stereotypical cartoon black farm child …….

    • As opposed to a stereotypical white farm workers child?

      Sorry I know its in the eye of the beholder and all that but I still don’t see what is actually racist about the advert.

      • You cannot be serious ! really . Because it harks back to SLAVERY .

      • Creasy must had spent many hours trying to find this cartoon. It hasn’t been in circulation for many, many years. Don’t you understand?

  3. Really? It’s a veryl slippery slope if you start to pick up on this stuff. The Skwawkbox is way better than this petty minded bull.

    • NO SB is just right about this and it’s not petty or bull to challenge this behaviour anywhere , care to ask Creasy why she did this rather than shoot the messenger ?

      • Why would I ask her? You either assume she has a racist agenda or she was posting a screenshot from an advert that was all over the TV for years when I was a teenager, presumably about the same time as her. I assume she does not have a racist agenda as I haven’t seen or heard any evidence to the contrary. I’m not a fan of her politics but to demonise someone for posting a well known and at the time widely known image is to distract from far more important issues. I really don’t think that someone queueing at a food bank really gives much of a toss about reposting an old Kia-Ora advert.

      • “Yep and I bet one could find dozens more who as coloured people would find it extremely insulting and racist ”
        So what, I was simply presenting anecdotal evidence that I thought was relevant from within my own family. Whether you accept their opinions as valid or not is entirely up to you.

        ” What’s more it is perfectly reasonable for white people to find this racist , not just black people .”
        Have I ever said otherwise? I really don’t care about your racial origins.

  4. There are only two possible conclusions to draw from Stella Creasy posting on WhatsApp a racist trope cartoon representation of black people.

    Stella Creasy either realised this is a racist image or she did not realise it is a racist image.

    Either of these conclusions are disturbing.

    It appears Ms Creasy does not even understand that she was engaging in racist behaviour, which is rather troubling.

    • I don’t much care for Stella Creasy either. But to be fair, neither my Afro-Caribbean wife or our daughter can see anything racist in this advert?

      • A racist cartoon trope of black people is, by definition, racist, Steve.

        I am not quite sure why you are arguing it isn’t?

        I suggest you do some research on the subject before you continue to attempt to excuse racist imagery.

    • “A racist cartoon trope of black people is, by definition, racist,”

      I guess if you self define anything as racist then you are only ever going to reach one conclusion aren’t you?
      Thanks for your suggestion but in my post I clearly state that I carried out research on a one to one basis with two people who are eminently qualified to pass judgment on the subject.

      • Yep and I bet one could find dozens more who as coloured people would find it extremely insulting and racist . What’s more it is perfectly reasonable for white people to find this racist , not just black people .

  5. The image doesn’t show that Creasy posted the cartoon. It has been posted by the same person who then asked why she posted it. Of course, they may well have re-posted it to remind people which image they were referring to, but, as it is, this screenshot is not evidence that Creasy posted anything.

    • Katherine, I am glad that you, as a Stella Creasy supporter, realise that Stella posting racist trope cartoon representations of black people online is deeply troubling.

      But we need to address the reason why Stella, a Labour MP, posted such racist material, rather than try to hide this racist act by claiming it hasn’t happened when it has, don’t you agree?

      It may well be that Stella didn’t realise the image she was posting was racist. That is in itself problematic and Stella clearly needs to understand the mistake she has made to stop her unwittingly posting other racist material online.

      Trying to cover up racist behaviour, as you are attempting to do, avoids racist behaviour from being challenged.

      We all have a duty to challenge racism whenever it rears its ugly head, Katherine.

      • What an extraordinary series of assumptions you have made about my post.

        I am not trying to ‘hide’ or ‘cover up’ anything. Neither am I ‘claiming it hasn’t happened’. What I remarked on was a technical issue, namely that the screenshot does not show Creasy posting that cartoon. It shows someone else posting it, then that same person asking Creasy why she posted it.

        You may not be familiar with WhatsApp, but both the cartoon and the comment underneath it are outlined in green and on the right of the screenshot. This means they were posted by the same person – the person who was talking to Creasy – not Creasy herself.

        As I said in my original post, Creasy may have indeed posted the cartoon earlier in the thread and the person commenting merely re-posted to illustrate which image he had an issue with. However, in order to know this for certain, we need to see the cartoon as it was posted by Creasy, not as it was re-posted by someone else entirely.

        I am not going to judge someone on such flimsy non-evidence.

        Quite apart from anything else, screenshots are not admissible as evidence by courts in several countries as they can be so easily faked. Only screenshots collected by software, such as X1 Social Discovery, which simultaneously collect metadata, proving when and by whom they were posted are acceptable, verifiable evidence.

    • Then why hasn’t she responded to a request for comment, even a denial.

  6. @tarqu1no “I’m not a fan of her politics but to demonise someone for posting a well known and at the time widely known image is to distract from far more important issues. ”

    NO its not OK to post this sort of thing nowadays ,and not challenging this IS one of the more important things. SHe should know a lot better .It is not demonising it is called challenging and not to say or do anything and let this pass by would be appalling .It comes form someone in a responsible position and thus should be setting an example , one she has failed to do so far and I await her comments / reason or response if one gets one at all.

  7. In itself, I’m not terribly bothered about this. It was a little naive of Creasy not to spot the racial overtones in the advert, but I’m sure nothing demeaning was intended by it.

    On the other hand, it’s almost ‘refreshing’ to see a bit of pseudo-racist controversy aimed at one of Corbyn’s opponents for a change, instead of seeing more of the largely contrived ‘anti-Semitism-in-Labour’ furor being used to undermine Corbyn’s supporters.

  8. It is deeply concerning that surrogates of Stella Creasy are attempting on this thread to defend and excuse Stella Creasy for posting racist trope cartoons of black people on WhatsApp.

    The Labour Party has a zero tolerance policy on racism. Stella and her supporters should be aware of this policy.

    It is very disturbing that Stella Creasy’s surrogates, such as a Katherine Coutanche and SteveH, are acting as apologists for Stella’s racist (albeit unintentionally so) behaviour and suggests that the party has much work to do to expose and root out the type of racist behaviour in the PLP that has been displayed by Stella Creasy.

    The best way forward would be for Stella and her surrogates to attend racism awareness courses in order for them to understand what racism is to prevent them engaging in this type of unacceptable behaviour in the future.

    • “It is very disturbing that Stella Creasy’s surrogates, such as …………… SteveH, are acting as apologists for Stella….”
      You are way off the mark there. I challenge you to prove otherwise.

      As for the rest of your twaddle about re-education, please refrain from being so condescending

    • I have done nothing of the sort, which would be supremely evident to anyone actually reading my posts. Stop trying to cause trouble with malicious, false accusations.

  9. Rob, Internal Affairs, you’re a well meaning pair I’m sure, but to accuse people of being ‘Creasy surrogates’ for arguing an opposite point of view is frankly infantile. You think this is a serious matter, I think it is just puerile and pointless finger pointing and holier than thou tittle tattle. It is not politics, it is name calling, and frankly the sooner the debate moves away from irrelevant detail about who did or did not mildly overstep one’s personal ethical boundaries and back onto the serious issues of the day, the better. I have been around long enough to know that the left gets mired down over issues like this while the rest of the world looks on bewildered and amused. To mention the holocaust in association with a thirty year old cartoon advertisement adverising a f***ing soft drink is frankly beyond satire.

    • What are you on about ? I ve not mentioned a thing re the holocaust and if you feel that a depiction of coloured people ( be it 30 yrs ago or not ) is somehow OK then , well I understand the BNP are always looking for new recruits , and the left are doing fine under Corbyn thanks very much , who BTW has zero tolerance policy on racism.

      • You entered a comment of ‘well said… exactly!’ after this matter was likened to attitudes which led to the holocaust, hence the reason I included you in my reply.
        I am well aware by the way of Corbyn’s attitude towards racism as I have been following his statements for decades. Incidentally, I would just like to point out to you that the use of the term ‘coloured people’ went out of use around about the same time as Alf Garnett disappeared from the telly – roughly when the Kia-Ora adverts were first aired. When I was young in the eighties there was a great deal of objection to the use of that phrase, and rightly so as it implied that being white was the norm and that if you were not white, you were ‘coloured’, which implied you were somehow tainted. Quite how it is now fashionable to use the term ‘people of colour’ which implies exactly the same thing only in a different grammatical structure, is somewhat bewildering, but hey ho. I understand though that you did not mean to be racist by saying this but some people would possibly object strongly to it – maybe suggesting you join the BNP for example?

    • It is your right to defend Stella Creasy’s error of judgment to post a racist cartoon trope of a black person.

      But you are wrong to do so.

      It clearly is not acceptable for a Labour MP to normalise this type of racist trope and for you to write it off as being of no significance,

      This is the type of behaviour one would expect from a member of the BNP, EDL or National Front, not from a Labour MP.

      Stella has made a mistake and should apologise.

      Your attempt to justify and defend the posting of racist images by a Labour MP only compounds the error.

      There is no place in the party for those who seek to apologise for racist behaviour. The fact that racist behaviour may have been unintended is materially irrelevant.

      The fact that you also ridicule the link between the dehumanisation of ethnic groups and the Holocaust is frankly rather sinister.

  10. I’m not ridiculing the link between dehumanisation of ethnic groups and the holocaust, I am ridiculing the mention of the holocaust in relation to a soft drinks advert. I am also suggesting that it might be more productive to perhaps focus on something like the current dehumanisation of the Russian people that is an ongoing ‘trope’ in the Guardian at the moment and seems to me to be contributing to a general mass media movement towards holocaust of an order of magnitude greater.
    Or perhaps the situation in Yemen which is greatly exacerbated by the UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia who are commiting genocide TODAY. I mean, really…. I could make a list as long as your ears will permit of issues that are far more important than a backbench MP allegedly posting an old cartoon image on Twitter or Whatsapp or whatever the hell it was, for reasons we know nothing about, to illustrate heaven knows what. There is an entire world out there full of massively more important things than a fly by night MP posting or forwarding (allegedly) a possibly inappropriate image.

  11. The posting style of Internal Affairs is remarkably similar to that of the Progress types I know who constantly try to goad people into saying things that they can then screenshot and send to Governance and Legal.

    • I am merely challenging racism, in line with the zero tolerance policy of the Labour Party and my own principles. Principles we clearly do not share judging by your multiple defences of racist behaviour on this thread.

      That you should wish smear me with false accusations of having ulterior motives or being associated with the discredited Progress Organisation is very telling.

      Your reference to G&L is also very interesting.

      You seem to be particularly well versed on the activity you describe.

      • You throw false smears like confetti then get your panties in a purl when someone says you sound like a someone she knows. Hypocrite.

      • Please try to keep a civil tongue in your head, comrade.

        If we were in a branch meeting you would be removed for using that type of language against a fellow party member.

        I have merely challenged racist behaviour.

        I would have thought you would have supported me, but instead you have attacked me for doing so.

      • I have not been racist, yet you have thrown racist smears against me. You then complain when I compare you to someone I know and claim that is a smear. That is hypocrisy 101.

        When I see incontrovertible proof that that image was shared by Creasy, I will form an opinion. Until then, I will continue to keep my own council on anything except the need to see verifiable evidence that proves the allegation being made against Creasy in this article.

        So far I have seen nothing that proves it. The image posted in the screenshot above, as I have said twice before, was not posted by Creasy. She may have posted it higher in the thread but, until I see proof of that, I have no opinion on whether or not she can be considered racist.

        Those accusing her of racism without being able to verify the facts beyond any doubt are, in my opinion, the ones at fault here.

      • New image added. It was her and confirmed by numerous MPs. There’s no realistic doubt – nor was there ever, since she responded to the challenge by explaining it, rather than denying she’d used it

  12. This is what happens when the right get jittery about their position in the Socialist Left Labour Party.
    Having had a grip under Tory Bair and Milliband, they will do anything to be on top again!
    As for Creasy, enough is enough, she needs to be gone along with the rest of her ilk, so we on the Left, can get on with making this country a fairer place to live and work!
    “FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW”

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  14. tarqu1no we agree to disagree on issues of importance , no I am not being racist when I use the term coloured people , it’s what I know as the correct term and your condescending attitude doen’t help with your points , nor to alter my stance . Yes we could no doubt all make long lists of other important issues but racialism is equally as important as the rest.
    The labour party and its members ( one of which I assume you are ) need to be big enough and good enough to deal with them all ..
    I’ll not be wasting further effort on Creasy and what she has posted ( purportedly ) which BTW is what the point is and not whether individuals have used the pedantically correct terms before being smeared as racist. I don’t and never will agree to seeing coloured people ( or people of colour to please you ) being depicted in this way and the MP should know a lot better

  15. I do find this cartoon to be racist particularly the black man who is depicted as a crow. “Why is he a crow?” you might ask “Why not a black cat or some other animal?”.
    If you are none the wiser then look up “Jim Crow” and then “Jim Crow Laws” and try and work out why American racists think that its amusing to depict black people as crows.
    The Jim Crow laws may have been an American thing but I am a bit taken aback that some people within the Labour Party are apparently so poorly informed.

  16. Creasy has the choice of apologising, urgently, for posting the picture, or ignoring it, not seeming to care. She might well have been unaware that to post it would be understood to be racist, but she should have seen that the moment she was called on it.

    It’s not as if there was any context that could have excused it as far as we know, that would have surfaced very quickly.

    Also, its damning to her to be picked up by the Mail, they understand she was wrong.

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