Good Morning Britain’s Political Editor Ranvir Singh (left) is among the stars who have come out in support of Alastair Stewart (right)
TREVOR PHILLIPS- Ex-head of the equality and human rights commission
Alastair and I met as teenagers, campaigning against – among other things – the National Front. I think he was, perhaps, careless in his use of the quote, but it’s ludicrous to end a career this way.
There is no way that Al would have used this image to belittle someone because of their race. People’s lives and intentions can’t be condensed into a single moment.
ANDREW NEIL– BBC presenter
Alastair Stewart – very smart, kindly, professional, impartial, knowledgeable, fun… Now the only person to be fired for quoting Shakespeare accurately. The only explanation can be the ITN suits wanted him out – and seized their chance.
RICHARD BACON- Former Radio 5 Live presenter
So Alastair Stewart lost his job because he quoted Shakespeare in a Twitter row – a quote his bosses deemed offensive but a quote he’s used before. Is that it?
MARY NIGHTINGALE- ITN Newsreader
He was a good friend and mentor to me when I started at Carlton TV and we worked together for more than 27 years. I will miss him.
RANVIR SINGH- Good Morning Britain Political editor
He has spoken about other black talent in the newsroom and why companies don’t give them more work … and he wants them to have more work. In my gut, I would put my house on it that not for one second did he write that quote thinking that it was in any way a slur on someone’s skin colour.
All I can say is that quote from Shakespeare in an Elizabethan era..I think was probably meant about primitive behaviour – it wasn’t about the colour. I call my son a monkey all the time [and say]: ‘Come on you little monkey! Get to bed’. I’m not being racist. I find it really unsettling.
ADAM BOULTON- Sky News
A great TV journalist, professional model and friend. Alastair Stewart. So sad.
BEN SHEPHARD- Good Morning Britain
I’ve been lucky enough to work with Alastair over the years as well and he’s an extraordinarily generous person.
ANNA BOTTING- Sky News
Alastair, hope you can still read these messages. You’ve always been so supportive and encouraging…for which I am very grateful. I share the sadness at your departure and wish you all the very best.
RORY BREMNER- Comedian
Don’t know what this is about but Alastair Stewart is a good friend, tweets knowledgeably & fairly about everything from news to horses, is generous, supportive and quick to correct unfairness or nonsense. Authoritative, kind & one of life’s great enthusiasts. A loss to ITN (& Twitter).
PROFESSOR SIR JOHN BATE- provost of Worcester college, Oxford
There are plenty of racist insults in Shakespeare, most of them coming from the mouth of the sociopathic loser Iago, who destroys the noble general Othello because he fails to get promotion and hates the idea of a black man having a beautiful white wife.
But for Shakespeare, the phrase ‘angry ape’ has nothing to do with race. It comes from Measure For Measure, his #MeToo play, in which a powerful man seeks sexual favours from a young woman who wants to be a nun.
She replies that men in authority always abuse their power: They ape the power of God. They are like an ape that looks in a mirror and goes ape. That’s what Shakespeare meant.
It was only in the wake of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, more than 300 years later, that race entered the equation.