Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has provoked uproar across the Twittersphere after quoting racist abuse during a live daytime TV interview.
The Labour MP for Hackney was speaking to Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard, hosts of ITV's Good Morning Britain breakfast show, about the type of online attacks directed at her during the election campaign.
Abbott proceeded to stun viewers, quoting a missive she'd received that used the phrase "n****r b***h."
"It was really quite frightening…and when I say abuse, it's not people saying, you know, 'I disagree with you about nationalising the railway" it's people calling you a n***** b****, it's people threatening acid attacks, it's rape, it's death threats. It's upsetting for me but it's also upsetting for my staff who have to see all this," she said.
Reid was forced to apologize to viewers, before giving Abbott an apparent telling off about the time of broadcast — 7:20 am.
"People listening to those abusive terms will also be offended. You've received them directly — we can't broadcast them, obviously, at this time in the morning," Reid said.
Offended many viewers rapidly flocked to social media to lambast Abbott for her use of the phrase, while others pointed out that such reaction was 'missing the point' and one should be concerned with the racist abuse the MP is facing.
When people are more offended by Diane Abbott repeating racist abuse aimed at her than the actual racist abuse. pic.twitter.com/o3rfEsRfan— Luke Sillett (@Luke_Sillett) September 14, 2017
Two wrongs don't make a right!— Kevin Carter (@CarterRevolved) September 14, 2017
If you're more annoyed at Diane Abbott repeating the racist abuse she's received than the torrent of racist abuse itself — get in the bin.— Matt Turner (@MattTurner4L) September 14, 2017
People are more angry with victims of racism and misogyny for speaking about their plight than the actual abuse they face #dianeabbott— Nabil Abdulrashid (@Nabilu) September 14, 2017
I dont care if you are black or white….yellow or pink— leefer (@leefer3) September 14, 2017
The N word disgusts me whatever the colour your skin may be#dianeabbott
It's the abuse you need to be angry at not the fact #DianeAbbott is describing the abuse.Go have a word with yourself if you disagree.— Andy Wedge (@andy_wedge) September 14, 2017
A Study in Abuse
Abbott spoke with specific reference to a study conducted by Amnesty International of the accounts of 177 female MPs active on Twitter between January and June 2017. It found they received a total of 25,688 abusive tweets in that period, with Abbott receiving almost half (45.14%) of them.
Moreover, she also topped the list of MPs for largest number of abusive tweets received, received ten times more abuse than any other female MP in the run-up to the election and eight times more abuse than any other female MP during the entire period of analysis.
Amnesty's research also showed Asian female MPs received on average 132 abusive tweets per MP, 30 percent higher than white female MPs. Black female MPs were found to receive 2,781 abusive tweets per MP — but when Diane Abbott is excluded from the analysis, the findings show black women MPs receive 81 abusive tweets per MP.