Journalist Rod Liddle has come under fire for writing an allegedly racist blog.
The former BBC Today programme editor suggested that young African-Caribbean men were responsible for the “overwhelming majority” of violent crime in London.
The comments, published on his blog on Spectator magazine’s website, have prompted outrage with one of his colleagues threatening to quit.
Liddle wrote of the case of two black teenage rappers who were jailed last week for plotting to murder a pregnant 15-year-old by throwing her in a canal.
He said: “It could be an anomaly, of course, but it isn’t. The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community.
“In return we have rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks.”
Liddle defended himself against accusations of racism. He said: “I cannot think of anything more vile than racism. I think it is disgusting. The issue here is not racism, it is one of multiculturalism.
“There is an important argument to be had about crime levels in London, Manchester and Birmingham which are down to culture. It is nothing to do with race.”
Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said: “We have all got so used to Rod Liddle’s low-level racism that it has lost the power to shock.” She added that it was “statistically false” to say black men committed most of the crimes he listed.
Playwright Bonnie Greer, who appeared on the BBC’s Question Time to challenge BNP leader Nick Griffin, said: “My response would be to say that the overwhelming majority of paedophiles, murderers, war-mongers and football hooligans are white males and all we got in return was beans on toast and Top Gear.”
Alex Massie, a colleague of Liddle at the Spectator, wrote a column criticising him and saying he had considered resigning.
Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator, said the magazine “stands up for the right to offend; our blogs often say things that people find offensive but that’s part of our right of free expression.
“Rod is one of the greatest writers in Britain today. His column and blog are loved by readers. It’s a significant part of my job as editor to defend people’s right to be offensive.”