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16th Apr 2024

Channel 4 responds after calls to sack Rachel Riley for Sydney stabbing post

Charlie Herbert

Channel 4 responds after calls to sack Rachel Riley for Sydney stabbing post

Riley was accused of Islamophobia by some

Channel 4 has responded after Rachel Riley apologised for a post she made on social media following the Sydney stabbings over the weekend.

On Saturday, Joel Cauchi, 40, attacked people at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre with a long blade.

Five women and a man were killed in the attack with several others injured, including a baby girl, with Cauchi eventually shot dead by a lone police officer.

Investigators are not treating Cauchi’s actions as terrorism-related and police have said he was suffering from mental health issues, Sky News reports.

Following the attack, Riley shared a post on X in which she appeared to link the attack to pro-Palestinian protests and marches.

The Countdown presenter said the attack in Sydney was linked to a Palestinian uprising and an example of ‘globalised Intifada.’

When Cauchi was identified as the attacker, she wrote in a follow-up post: “Global condemnation for the attack that has now claimed 6 innocent lives, including a 38 year old Mum protecting her baby.

“And no, the attacker being named as Joel Cauchi does not change my opinion that it is wrong for people on our streets to be calling for mass terror attacks across the world, with or without a ‘cause’, in case you’re wondering.”

There was a strong backlash to her words. Some called for Riley to be sacked by Channel 4, accusing her of Islamophobia for linking the stabbings to pro-Palestinian marches.

Riley has since apologised for the post, admitting that it “wasn’t the right place or time which made it easier to misinterpret.”

Channel 4 has also released a statement addressing Riley’s words.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: “We have reminded Rachel of her obligations as a contributor to Channel 4 programming.”

In her full apology on Sunday night, Riley wrote: “I’m sorry to those I offended. My post was ambiguous and although it was genuinely designed to call out calls for violence, it wasn’t the right place or time which made it easier to misinterpret, and I apologise.

“I know nuance isn’t popular online, and even though I’m certain many of the people calling this out are the same people who’ve been trying to shut me up or have me fired for the last 6 years, who would happily join in the calls for violence against their enemies, I’m also sure there are those who don’t fall into that camp, and it is to them I write this now.

“I too have been subject to assault in recent months and it was a Muslim woman and her husband who came to see if I was ok afterwards. I’m grateful to them and wish to undo any offence caused to the community.”

Earlier in the day, she had offered clarification as to her intentions behind the original post, saying she never intended to link the Sydney stabbings to “Islamic extremism.”

She wrote: “My aim was to highlight the weekly calls for ‘intifada’ being tolerated in London and around the world, which in actuality means violence on our streets. For 6 months now, I have avoided taking the tube, or going with my kids to anywhere near the marches each Saturday, and each week we see the extremist chants on proud display with little outcry.

“Sadly, the type of attack seen in Sydney yesterday is exactly the kind of violence the previous intifada involved and I hope to avoid in future, but in my opinion ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

“Attacks on Jews have recently become repackaged as ‘resistance’ in some circles, and we should in one voice condemn all acts of violence, whoever the perpetrators and whoever the victims. I am sorry if this message was misunderstood, that was not my intention.”