Another case of celebrity misrepresentation by the media has led to an apology from one of the UK's leading news channels. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Stormzy was asked whether Britain is still racist. He replied: "Definitely, 100%." But this simple statement led to a flurry of headlines claiming the grime artist believed the UK was 100% racist. ITV has now apologised to Stormzy after publishing the inaccurate headline.
Tweeting that although Stormzy's full response had been included in the article, ITV News "felt the headline at the top of this story on our website and Twitter post did not reflect these comments fully and was therefore amended. The tweet regarding the quotes was also later removed. We would like to apologise to Stormzy for any misunderstanding."
The apology came after Stormzy himself responded to media inaccuracies. He accused publications of "intentionally spinning [his] words for some clickbait" and told them not to try and "beg it in the future." According to The Week, The Sun and the Daily Mail also falsely claimed Stormzy had said the UK was 100% racist, rather than his actual belief that there is definite racism within the country.
Several Twitter users attempted to show the radical difference between the two quotes by asking a different question. One example read: "Are there toilets in the UK?" If Stormzy had replied, "Definitely, 100%," similarly inaccurate headlines would have read: "The UK is 100% toilets, says rapper Stormzy."
In a bid to curb the misrepresentation, the journalist who interviewed the 26-year-old tweeted the transcript, describing it as "the original and only reliable source."
It showed Stormzy's full comments. "The funny thing in Britain is that racism in Britain... people are really unaware of it," the rapper said, adding that the UK is "a more difficult case to fight" because some Brits believe their country isn't racist. "They think, 'No, it's not. Stormzy, you're successful. Look at London, there's loads of black people,'" he continued.
Stormzy also touched on the effect of language used by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson: "If you have a figurehead, if the top person can openly say this racist thing ... the 'picaninnies' remarks, 'watermelon smiles', comparing Muslim women to a letterbox, if that is our figurehead, the top man, the leader we have to follow, and he openly says these things, he encourages hate amongst others."