Countdown's Rachel Riley issues apology over 'misunderstood' tweet as Channel 4 faces calls to fire her

Rachel Riley has issued an apology on social media for a tweet she made after the Sydney attacks (Photo: Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images)Rachel Riley has issued an apology on social media for a tweet she made after the Sydney attacks (Photo: Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images)
Rachel Riley has issued an apology on social media for a tweet she made after the Sydney attacks (Photo: Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images) | Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images
The Countdown star has since deleted the tweet.

Countdown’s Rachel Riley has issued an apology over a tweet about the Sydney stabbings. The now-deleted post saw Riley accused of Islamophobia and face calls for Channel 4 to fire her.

The original tweet, which suggested the attack was the result of a "globalised Infitada" has since been deleted. In a lengthy statement, Riley said she was "sorry" if her message had been "misunderstood".

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The horrific attack in Sydney which took place on Saturday (April 13) saw six people lose their lives. Joel Cauchi, aged 40, from Queensland, has been identified as the attacker by New South Wales Police. His family have said he suffered mental health issues since he was a teenager. He had been known to police, particularly over the last five years, but had not been arrested or charged before he committed the attack.

What has Rachel Riley said?

The Countdown host has shared a statement following a tweet she had posted in relation to the Sydney attack, explaining she was “sorry” if her message had been “misunderstood”.

Riley’s statement said: “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. At the time we did not know who the attacker was, and as such I made no reference."

She continued: “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. 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."

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Riley regularly speaks out about antisemitism and was awarded an MBE in the 2023 New Year Honours for services to Holocaust education. She has since deleted the tweet, and shared an updated apology on Sunday (April 14) evening.

Riley wrote: “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. I know nuance isn’t popular online, and even though I’m certain many of the people calling this out are the same people who’ve been trying to shut me up or have me fired for the last 6 years, who would happily join in the calls for violence against their enemies, I’m also sure there are those who don’t fall into that camp, and it is to them I write this now. I too have been subject to assault in recent months and it was a Muslim woman and her husband who came to see if I was ok afterwards. I’m grateful to them and wish to undo any offence caused to the community.”

Sarah McCann is a Trends Writer for NationalWorld who specialises in stories around TV, Film and Health. If you liked this article you can follow Sarah on X (Twitter) here. You can also share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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