Rachel Riley looks at the camera

Channel 4 issues statement amid calls for Rachel Riley to be sacked over now-deleted tweet

'I’m sorry to those I offended'

Channel 4 has responded to calls on Twitter for Countdown star Rachel Riley to be sacked over a tweet that she has now deleted and apologised for.

Six people were killed and a further 12 were injured on Saturday (April 13) during a mass stabbing in a shopping centre in Sydney, Australia.

The massacre was perpetrated by 40-year-old Joel Cauchi from Queensland, who was shot dead by a police officer. Police have subsequently told reporters Cauchi was suffering from mental health issues.

However, ahead of this information being shared, TV personality Rachel, 38, was slammed over claims she posted an Islamophobic tweet.

Rachel Riley speaks
Countdown host Rachel Riley took to Twitter following the stabbings in Sydney (Credit: YouTube)

Rachel Riley responds to Sydney tragedy on Twitter

Rachel uploaded words to Twitter suggesting the horror that unfolded was part of a “globalised Intifada”.

Intifada, an Arabic word, means ‘uprising’. It has previously been used to describe armed uprisings by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Rachel’s tweet read: “For 6 months now, people have been out on our streets proudly calling for the ‘Intifada Revolution’. If you want to know what ‘Globalised Intifada’ looks like, see the Sydney Mall. 5 victims stabbed to death and 8 transferred to hospital, including a baby, due to one man and a knife.

“In the second intifada over 1,000 Israelis were murdered in restaurants, on buses and in the streets by suicide bombings, stabbings, stoning, lynching, shooting rockets. The youngest victim was just 9 hours old. Sydney mall, multiple times over is what they’ve been proudly calling for.”

Rachel Riley smiling on Countdown
Rachel Riley took over from Carol Vorderman on Countdown, and has been part of the Channel 4 series since 2009 (Credit: YouTube)

‘I am sorry if this message was misunderstood’

The message came in for a furious backlash from social media users, with some accusing Rachel of being ‘racist’ and others calling for Channel 4 to axe her from its shows.

She later insisted her words were “misunderstood”. She posted: “Just to clarify, my intention with this tweet was not to say this attack was caused by any ideation or to link it to Islamic extremism.”

My intention with this tweet was not to say this attack was caused by any ideation or to link it to Islamic extremism.

Rachel’s tweet continued: “At the time we did not know who the attacker was. And as such I made no reference. My aim was to highlight the weekly calls for ‘intifada’ being tolerated in London and around the world, which in actuality means violence on our streets. For six months now, I have avoided taking the Tube, or going with my kids to anywhere near the marches each Saturday. And each week we see the extremist chants on proud display with little outcry.”

Furthermore, she went on: “Sadly, the type of attack seen in Sydney yesterday is exactly the kind of violence the previous intifada involved and I hope to avoid in future. But in my opinion ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Attacks on Jews have recently become repackaged as ‘resistance’ in some circles. And we should in one voice condemn all acts of violence, whoever the perpetrators and whoever the victims. I am sorry if this message was misunderstood, that was not my intention.”

‘I apologise’

The presenter later added: “I’m sorry to those I offended.

“My post was ambiguous and although it was genuinely designed to call out calls for violence, it wasn’t the right place or time which made it easier to misinterpret, and I apologise.”

Channel 4 response

Despite Rachel’s apology, as of Monday (April 15) afternoon, many were still complaining over Rachel’s claims and subsequent response.

One wrote: “Rachel Riley’s non-apology is not good enough @Channel4 @C4Countdown @8Outof10Cats #RachelRiley.”

Another said: “It’s getting embarrassing at this point. @channel4 sack this woman and put her out of her misery please.”

A third commented: “Boycott all Channel 4 shows until Rachel Riley is sacked.”

A spokesperson for Channel 4 told MailOnline: “We have reminded Rachel of her obligations as a contributor to Channel 4 programming.”

A similar statement was also shared by one member of the public who emailed in a complaint about Rachel.


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Read more: Rachel Riley on having therapy after Strictly: ‘I was never going to be perfect’

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer