‘ITN and BBC stars are rallying around Alastair Stewart today and fellow newsreader Mary Nightingale was in tears on live TV last night after he was forced out by his bosses when a black Twitter user complained the star called him an ‘angry ape’.
Ms Nightingale’s voice broke as she told viewers on ITV 1’s Teatime show that Mr Stewart, Britain’s longest-serving news broadcaster, would not be seen again after 44 years on the station.
Just over an hour earlier, the 67-year-old newsreader said he was quitting after ‘a misjudgement which I regret’ on social media and told friends he was ‘very sad it was ending this way’ after an online row with Martin Shapland where he quoted lines from William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.
But Mr Stewart used the same passage including ‘angry ape’ in a Twitter debate on ragwort in June 2018 with Swansea environmentalist Neil Jones, who is white.
His fellow ITV stars Ms Nightingale, Julie Etchingham and ex-ITV News boss Richard Frediani paid tribute to a ‘broadcasting legend’ while over at the BBC presenter Andrew Neil said: ‘Alastair Stewart – Now the only person to be fired for quoting Shakespeare accurately. The only explanation can be the ITN suits wanted him out — and seized their chance’. ‘
Read more: Colleagues and viewers defend ‘gracious gentleman’ Alastair Stewart against claims of racism after ITN anchor quit for calling black man an ‘angry ape’ on Twitter – as it’s revealed he used same Shakespeare quote in online row with white man 18 months ago