Darren Grimes, an openly gay, conservative journalist, has said that he’s set to take on the Metropolitan police after they opened an investigation after an interview Grimes published on his podcast, in which its subject used terms that have caused offence. In the interview, Dr David Starkey suggested slavery was not genocide because so many black people survived.
Taking to Twitter, the 27-year-old, said that the UK’s biggest police force, the Metropolitan Police had “threatened an unprecedented use of Public Order legislation to target me and my channel @ReasonedUK“, he added, that it should “concern anyone that believes in freedom of the press”.
Grimes released a video after he was summoned by the Met, by email, for a “voluntary” interview. However according to Grimes, he was threatened with arrest if he failed to attend. He described the investigation against him as an “outrageous abuse of taxpayer cash”.
In the video, uploaded to his official social media channel he said,
“So earlier this week I was contacted by the Metropolitan Police and told that if I didn’t attend a voluntary interview with them, I’d be arrested.
“I’ve been accused for stirring up racial hatred for an interview I did with Dr David Starkey back in June.
“It’s just such an outrageous abuse of taxpayer cash and the trust that we have in the police as citizens. So much so that at first I couldn’t believe it was real. I went into my local police station to verify the email.
He continued, ‘The only hatred Dr Starkey stirred up was against himself, even after apologising, the repercussions for him after that interview had been severe. He’s lost every position he ever held, he wasn’t cancelled, he was airbrushed from history.
“I even said myself in a statement that I hold my hands up and should have robustly questioned Dr Starkey, but why would I bother if my intention was to stir up racial hatred?”
Does the polices’ action threaten free speech and the press?
Speaking about the “chilling effect” on free speech, Grimes said that the press has to be permitted to interview a wide range of people.
He added, “Where does setting this precedent get us if journalists and broadcasters are arrested if the people they’re interviewing say things that can be classed as likely to stir up hatred?
“In a free and democratic society, journalists and broadcasters have to be permitted to interview a wide range of people, including those likely to make a controversial remark.
“To then threaten them with arrest will have a real chilling effect on free speech and debate in this country.
“I’m going to fight this all the way and I’m delighted to say that I’m joined by the Free Speech Union.