Rod Liddle apologises for ‘black savages’


5:52 pm - May 28th 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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First, professional troll Rod Liddle wrote:

I was slightly puzzled by the early media reports of the appalling murder in Woolwich and particularly the wrangling over whether or not this could be called ‘a terrorist attack’. Does it make much difference? Two black savages hacked a man to death while shouting Allahu Akbar; that’s really all you need to know, isn’t it?

Then, today, after outrage on Twitter, the Spectator editors deleted the word ‘black’, and Liddle offered this apology

To avoid the ludicrous phrase ‘men of Muslim appearance’ I originally used the word ‘black’ to describe the appearance of the knifemen. If anyone took that wrong way, I’m very sorry.

This is only slightly ridiculous than the original comment (by everette tforge service). Why is it necessary to refer to their appearance at all?

Do we describe the pigmentation of every criminal in the UK?

PS – Rod Liddle never got back to us earlier about whether he wrote these racist messages on the Millwall FC website under a pseudonym.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


1. Chris Marshall

Rod Liddle is a racist of Rod Liddle appearance.

2. Chaise Guevara

“Do we describe the pigmentation of every criminal in the UK?”

No, apparently white is default and not worth mentioning.

I kinda see his point that he was trying to say “two Muslim-lookin’ guys killed someone while yelling Muslim things, obviously it’s terrorism”. Which moves it from “blatant racism” to “subtle racism and a shit argument”.

Love to know why neither he nor the sub-ed realised “black savages” was a terrible choice of words, though.

But what exactly is someone “of Muslim appearance”? I’ve seen a picture of one of the alleged perpetrators; he doesn’t look remotely like Richard Thompson.

This is only slightly ridiculous than the original comment. Why is it necessary to refer to their appearance at all?

Because they cut someones head off in the middle of the street.

Do we describe the pigmentation of every criminal in the UK?

In breaking news reports, if the crime is of such a nature it warrents one then yes, most of the time.

They were black, they were savages, whats the issue here? If you are a black man its not refering to you, its not saying all black people are savages, if you are repressing racism, deal with your issues and direct your energy else where.

Do we describe the pigmentation of every criminal? A lot do have their pigmentation described. Both black and white. It just as acceptable to describe their skin colour as it is to describe their hair colour or eye colour. To get special that blacks have their skin colour described and to call it racism is just stupid.

But there cases where it seems the media and police go to extremes to NOT mention the alleged criminals’ colour when it would actually be useful in identifying them. In these cases it’s usually the case that they are actually of a brown colour, as in Pakistani or Afghan.

Oh, and I forgot to say. Rod Liddle is a c**t.

7. ludicrous pseudoym

anyone who claims not to see the racist implications behind “black savage” is either a liar or an idiot. just sayin’. incidentally, Liddle is both.

An Indian student was shot and killed in Manchester last year by two white guys for no apparent reason other than his race, last month a 76 year old Asian man was stabbed for no apparent reason other than his race… Has the term “White Savages” been used to describe these demented sociopaths? No

“Black Savages” was term used by Europeans to justify Slavery and Colonialism, and it’s all about context. Liddle knew what he was doing here, his past work alone is enough for anyone to know the dog whistling he was engaging in.

9. Chaise Guevara

@ 5 SadButMadLad

“Do we describe the pigmentation of every criminal? A lot do have their pigmentation described. Both black and white. It just as acceptable to describe their skin colour as it is to describe their hair colour or eye colour. To get special that blacks have their skin colour described and to call it racism is just stupid.”

It’s not racism. It’s just that most people in the UK are white and therefore it’s standard. People are assumed white unless specified otherwise, just like you’d be more likely to mention that someone is seven feet tall than that they’re about 5’9”. There’s nothing bigoted in that.

However, “black savages” as a phrase is dodgy as fuck. I’m trying to be generous here, assume innocence, but I’m having trouble seeing it as anything other than an attempt to court controversy by being racist in a way that can’t quite be proved.

I remember watching a boxing match when I was young. Think it was Ali V Bugner, Ali was described as the one in the white shorts.

I have to admit to quite liking Rod Liddle, but he does go too far sometimes. Using those two words like that was wrong.

Someone like Sunny Hundal will never ”get” a person like Liddle though. There is too much cultural difference between them. As was shown over the Millwall football site carry-on. A person from the very correct political left will never be able to understand the mind of your average Millwall supporters for example. Liddle does as he is ne of them.

I’d imagine Sunny would sooner have major dental surgery than go to an Old Kent Road pub before a Millwall match and then go along to the game and sit in the stands with those kind of people. There are some worlds that just can not co-exist easily, and therefore often have a poor understanding of each other. This site’s very poor and shallow analysis of the EDL is just more proof of this IMO.

12. Robin Levett

@Onbe #4:

They were black, they were savages, whats the issue here?

Were Fred West and his wife deprived as “white savages”? No, because “white savages” as a phrase has no history or currency. “Black savages” does, and they are racist through and through. Liddle was not describing their appearance and their behaviour separately; he was linking them quite explicitly.

@The Judge #3:

Almost my thoughts – although I was thinking of Yussuf Islam…

To be fair, his rationalisation shows his motivation pretty clearly.

13. John reid

Maybe it wasn’t relevant to put their skincolour , but he was going out of his way o use a description of them as Muslims to use the definition of skin colour, but as a news reporter he was using a description to describe them, thats his job

14. Shatterface

They were black, they were savages, whats the issue here?

The combination of the words has a connotation greater than the sum of their individual meanings – like ‘thick Irish’ or ‘white trash’

15. Shatterface

I’d imagine Sunny would sooner have major dental surgery than go to an Old Kent Road pub before a Millwall match and then go along to the game and sit in the stands with those kind of people.

To be honest, so would I: that sounds like Hell.

16. Man on Clapham Omnibus

It is a far more interesting question as to whether these were terrorists and whether the subsequent police round up of ‘accomplices’ is a way of maximising a perceived threat in order to push through an agenda of state surveillance.

17. Man on Clapham Omnibus

14. Shatterface

why were they savages?

18. Shatterface

Because they committed a savage attack.

Liddle’s use of the term ‘black savage’ was racist but if yiu have issues with the word ‘savage’ in isolation you can suck my balls.

It is a far more interesting question… whether the subsequent police round up of ‘accomplices’ is a way of maximising a perceived threat in order to push through an agenda of state surveillance.

It might be more interesting if wild speculation is the kind of thing you’re interested in. But unless and until you know the evidence against them wild speculation is all it would be.

20. Steve Howe

@17 “why were they savages?” probably because they were indoctrinated and radicalised. Though then we have to ask why some people are more susceptible than others to this sort of brainwashing, and I’d like to see those doing the brainwashing severely punished.

I’m a bit confused about what is acceptable to say.

The killers were (are) black
The killers attacked the man with knives and machetes – which is is unquestionably savage and to have acted like savages.

So to have called them ‘black savages’ is an accurate description.

If Rod Liddle had called Jermaine Defoe a ‘black genius’ or a ‘black goalscoring predator’ would either of these statements be considered racist to your ears?

If so, let’s just cut to the chase and say the word black must never be used to describe people or their actions.

22. the a&e charge nurse

What made Liddle change his mind (and issue an apology) is a more interesting question.

Nowadays we must increasingly apply spin to our own thoughts

23. Man on Clapham Omnibus

18. Shatterface

Love the depth of your argument which neatly dovetails into your reduced vocabulary.

I presume from your argument a more mechanised approach toward killing would be regarded as less savage.

24. Man on Clapham Omnibus

21. Kojak

Where do you get your notion of savages from?

Separating the motive from the modus operandi reveals that the perpetrators of the act operated with rational purpose.
They even gave interviews after the murder.

@21

“So to have called them ‘black savages’ is an accurate description”.

Is it? I think not. Are the those ‘white’ soldiers who go ‘postal’ referred to was “white savages”? No, they aren’t.

“If Rod Liddle had called Jermaine Defoe a ‘black genius’ or a ‘black goalscoring predator’ would either of these statements be considered racist to your ears”?

Why is it important for you to qualify such words like “genius” with the word “black”? And yes, it is racist.

Oh and Rod Liddle is a prick.

26. Robin Levett

@Kojak #21:

I’m a bit confused about what is acceptable to say.

You’d perhaps be less confused if you had read the friendly thread first…

Buddyhell re comment 25:

I said:
“If Rod Liddle had called Jermaine Defoe a ‘black genius’ or a ‘black goalscoring predator’ would either of these statements be considered racist to your ears”?”

To which you replied:
“Why is it important for you to qualify such words like “genius” with the word “black”? And yes, it is racist.”

I was giving example of statements which could be used to describe my favourite footballer’s skills. The first is unquestionably complimentary the second is also complimentary but has the word predator which has negative connotations in another context.

To which you tell me they are racist because I mention Jermaine Defie is black. If I were asked to point him out I wouldn’t say “The little guy with a diamond right earing stud and a gap between his two upper front teeth” I would say “The little black guy with a diamond right earing stud and a gap between his two upper front teeth”. Does that make me a racist or merely someone stating the obvious?

Rod Liddle should definitely be ashamed of using the words like he did. Completely out of order.

But ….. here’s why I still like Rod. This is his recent Spectator column and it is very astute and funny.

He’s slagging off those massed drumming bands that you get …. all middle class right-on PC liberals making an exhibition of themselves.

This is the thing. We are all expected to love and value street drummers, even though they are possessed of no talent whatsoever and simply make a repetitive tuneless din, redolent of savagery and stupidity. In such a way, I suppose they are the epitome of a solipsistic, dumbed-down culture, in which every performer has a right to be heard, regardless of whether or not anyone really wants to hear them. But their message to their audience is as monotone and dumb as their alleged music: it says nothing more than ‘look at me, look at me, look at me’.

That’s exactly what I’ve always thought of those people.
This is why Liddle still has some value, even though he does go too far sometimes.

29. John Reid

Rod liddles got in trouble for racist stuff before, last time it was for the terrible racist slur, when he suggested that. The Stephen Lawrence killers might not get a fair trial as they’ve Been pre judged by the Press!!!!

“To avoid the ludicrous phrase ‘men of Muslim appearance’ I originally used the word ‘black’ to describe the appearance of the knifemen.”

Just to state the bleedin’ obvious here: this makes zero sense, because black men are not thereby ‘men of Muslim appearance’. The attackers in this case didn’t any more look Muslim because they were black than they did because they were tall, or wearing jeans.

– “Two denim-clad savages hacked a man to death while shouting Allahu Akbar”

– “Denim-clad?”

– “Well, I wanted to avoid the ludicrous phrase ‘men of Muslim appearance'”


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