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A broadcaster appearing on BBC’s Question Time on Thursday has defended disgraced peer Lady Susan Hussey over racist comments she made to charity founder Ngozi Fulani. At a royal reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday Lady Hussey asked Ms Fulani where she was “really” from repeatedly and moved her hair out of the way to read Ms Fulani’s name badge.
While Olivia Utley from GB News acknowledged the offence that had been caused, she said she was uncomfortable with the idea of an elderly woman with years of public service experience being cancelled.
She said: “I think it was definitely a very clumsy and surprisingly crass comment from someone who’s spent their life doing these sorts of events.
“But on the other hand I think it’s a bit sad that we live in a society where an 83-year-old woman with 60 years of public service behind her can just be cancelled for one misspeak.
“My heart really goes out to Ngozi Fulani because it sounds like a horrible experience and I can’t quite understand how it happened like that.
“But I think that everyone who knows Lady Susan Hussey says that she’s not in any way racist, she’s a very kind hearted woman, and the rest of her life is going to be blighted by that incident.
“So I worry a bit about cancel culture angle of this whole story but that’s not in any way to undermine what Ngozi Fulani went through because it does sound like a horrible experience.”
Speaking to the BBC Ms Fulani described the encounter as like an “interrogation”, while the palace called the remarks “unacceptable and deeply regrettable”.
Ms Fulani, founder of the domestic violence charity Sistah Space, told Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was like an interrogation.
“I guess the only way I can explain it, she’s determined: ‘Where are you from? Where are your people from?'”
She also dismissed the view that Lady Hussey should be excused because of her age, adding: “Let us be clear what this is. I’ve heard so many suggestions it’s about her age and stuff like that, and I think that’s kind of a disrespect – an ageism kind of thing.
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“I have to really question how this can happen in a space that’s supposed to protect women against all kinds of violence.
“Although it’s not physical violence – it is an abuse.
“If you invite people to an event, against domestic abuse, and there are people there from different demographics, I don’t see the relevance of whether I’m British or not British.”
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