Racist professor fired

British historian David Starkey was fired today from one appointment and resigned from several others after remarking that the existence of "so many damn Blacks" showed that slavery was not a form of genocide. Canterbury Christ Church University immediately gave him the sack, while Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge said it "accepted the resignation of historian David Starkey from his honorary fellowship with immediate effect" and that "We do not tolerate racism." Former UK chancellor Sajid Javid assailed him on Twitter and the Mary Rose Trust also rid itself of him promptly.

Starkey made the remark while being interviewed by right-wing YouTuber Darren Grimes. Grimes's show, Reasoned, was launched in defense of free speech, a term he uses frequently to describe his aims, with Grimes announcing that "I want you to join us in thinking for yourself and not following the online mob." And yet…

Consider that what lured Starkey to show his colors was a promise of free speech that the promiser did not truly honor — and that the promiser stood foremost among those condemning him.

This is neither to praise the platforming of racists on "best disinfectant is sunshine" grounds nor to condemn Grimes as a hypocrite. I'm just pointing out that privately-mediated "free speech" is unreal nonsense, a marketing and self-branding proposition that always collapses when reality bites.