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Columnist speaks out after regional daily pulls racism piece

Paul CoxA columnist has spoken out after a regional daily pulled a piece he wrote about racism in the wake of the King’s coronation.

Stand-up comedian and regular Portsmouth News columnist Paul Cox has criticised the paper after its head of print decided not to run the column, saying it “did not sit well.”

The piece followed actress Adjoa Andoh’s comments about the Buckingham Palace balcony being “terribly white” following the Coronation of King Charles III on 6 May.

Ms Andoh’s remark prompted Paul, pictured, to write that “an extraordinary competition has ensued to crown the winner of the most victimised group”, adding that people were being encouraged to “indulge in the ‘right’ type of racism”.

However, the day before publication he received an email from the head of print at The News asking him to write something different.

The email, which has been shared by Paul in a blog post about the issue although the sender was not named, stated: “Re your main piece tomorrow, I am going to have to ask you for something else.

“We live in an age where racism is an incredibly touchy subject and I am concerned about a white person making comments about racism and using phrases like ‘competition for the most victimised group’ and ‘the ‘right’ type of racism’ in the paper.

“Apologies, but it just doesn’t sit well with me.”

Paul then asked if he could write about the paper’s response to the piece instead.

In reply, the News said: “Paul, I’ve just asked you to write about something else if you can, I’ve asked other people at the paper for their thoughts, it’s not just me. Please don’t take any offence, none is meant.”

In the blog, Paul wrote: “I was taken slightly aback. What does my skin colour have to do with my ability to observe?

“But seeing as we are playing this game, let’s look at the facts (for what they’re worth): I am white, Adjoa Andoh’s comments were about white people, therefore I have a legitimate reason to respond and do so in jest, if I wish.”

“The editor has every right to make decisions, I accept and respect this but I do find this a strange approach.

“I wish I had some deeply profound observation about what this means for society but I’m just a comedian so I’ll just sit here and wait for my face paints to arrive, one for each view I am allowed to have.”

Ms Andoh’s comments, made during ITV’s live coverage of the Coronation, sparked more than 4,000 complaints to media watchdog Ofcom.

In his rejected column, Paul had written: “A relatively small but significantly well represented portion of society have convinced themselves that everything must be viewed through the prism of race, sexuality and culture.

“An extraordinary competition has ensued to crown the winner of the most victimised group. If we wind this back a few years, this all started with a noble desire to better represent minority groups – through generating awareness, discussion, and greater cohesion.

“However, roll forward to 2023 and we appear to have progressed to a point where instead of reducing racism, we simply encourage people to indulge in the ‘right’ type of racism.

“In a huge and upsetting development people have discovered that when two white people have children, the children are also white! Of course, I’m being sarcastic about Bridgerton actor Adjoa Andoh’s comment that the Royal family are ‘terribly white’.

“Against any other skin colour or culture that comment would be considered racist. Especially by the paradigm set out by team ‘everything is racist’. What an absurd place to find ourselves.

“If it didn’t make and destroy careers so regularly it would be very funny. It’s like a game of nonsense bingo. A game in which the winner is successful in saying the most ridiculous thing they can, on TV. The sad thing is this crusade is like a huge tyre rolling down a hill.”

HTFP has approached the News for a response to Paul’s comments.