Prince William branded ‘simplistic, racist and out of touch’ in extraordinary attack

The Duke of Cambridge arrives at the Tusk Awards

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On Monday, the Duke of Cambridge handed out prizes to leading conservationists from African nations at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London. During the event, he gave a speech where he called for the natural world to be protected from the impact of human beings.

In his speech at the event, he suggested that population growth is endangering wildlife in Africa.

He said: “The increasing pressure on Africa’s wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over.

“But it is imperative that the natural world is protected not only for its contribution to our economies, jobs and livelihoods, but for the health, well-being and future of humanity.

“We owe it to our children and future generations to act now.”

His comments sparked fury though, as while the Prince did not specifically mention population growth many Twitter users interpreted his comments as an attack on the continent’s Black population.

Royal commentator Omid Scobie, who co-authored ‘Finding Freedom’ a book about Meghan and Harry’s time as royals, chimed in on the coverage of the Duke’s speech.

In a tweet to his 72.5k followers, he wrote: “In other news, Prince William has been called an ‘imperialist colonizer’ after blaming African population growth for wildlife loss. Again. The duke’s recent statement has been branded simplistic, racist and out of touch by critics and leaders.”

Mr Scobie notes “again” in his commentary, in reference to remarks made by the Duke at the Tusk Trust’s awards ceremony in 2017.

At that time, William said that Africa’s “rapidly growing human population” was putting its wildlife and habitats under “enormous pressure”.

His 2017 comments also came under scrutiny as they occurred prior to his youngest son Prince Louis being born.

Journalist Nadine Batchelor-Hunt wrote: “Prince William, with two kids and another on the way: it is clear Africa are having too many children here”.

The criticism of the Duke’s 2021 speech mentioned by Omid Scobie includes Franklin Leonard, a film and TV producer and founder of the Black List.

Mr Leonard quote tweeted an article about William’s speech, adding: “There are too many Africans” is quite the position.”

While Bolu Babalola, a British-Nigerian woman and author of ‘Love in Color’, wrote: “lol he is so hateful it’s actually funny.”

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Survival International, a human rights organisation that campaigns for the rights of indigenous and/or tribal peoples, also commented on the piece branding the royal’s comments as examples of “racism”.

They wrote: “Prince William says mounting pressure on Africa’s ‘wild spaces as a result of human population’ is a ‘huge challenge for conservationists’. Staggered by the racism & hypocrisy?”

Elsewhere in his speech, the future king also called for worldwide action to address the theme of climate change and protecting the environment.

He said: “Africa remains on the frontline of conservation, playing host to the most awe-inspiring diversity of fauna and flora.

“The forests and savannahs of this vast continent are a precious form of natural capital.

“This not only underpins economies and supports biodiversity, but plays a critical function in our battle against climate change.”

The Duke also made reference in his speech to the challenges African conservation has faced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, before attending a reception with key members and supporters of the charity,

The event celebrated Africa’s leading wildlife protectors and was held at the BFI Southbank in London.

Prince William is the royal patron of the Tusk Trust, a position he has held since 2005.

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