The publisher and owner of Attitude magazine, Darren Styles, is embroiled in a race row after telling Labour MP David Lammy: “Go f**k yourself.”
Styles, who has owned gay men’s publication Attitude since 2016, hit out at the MP for Tottenham Hale on Thursday (February 28) for comments about charity work. Lammy had criticized the BBC’s Comic Relief charity drive for sending presenter Stacey Dooley to make a film in Uganda, tweeting: “The world does not need any more white saviours.”
The Labour MP explained: “This just perpetuates tired and unhelpful stereotypes. Let’s instead promote voices from across the continent of Africa and have serious debate. “
The remark led Attitude owner Darren Styles to retort: “As a white man who has raised more than £350k for an AIDS charity to spend in Africa you can go f**k yourself.
“I’ll spend my life and my time how I see fit, and do what good I can wherever I can based on need, rather than your poisonous view of my (or anyone’s) colour.”
In subsequent tweets, Attitude publisher Styles added: “Fuming. Absolutely fuming. What a horrific thing to say.
“I’ve raised a ton of money to fight AIDS in Africa over years, and I don’t see myself or anyone who has helped me as a saviour, let alone a white one.”
The magazine publisher described the Labour MP, one of the most prominent anti-racism campaigners in Parliament, as a “dreadful man” with a “horrible outlook on life.”
He added: “I object in the strongest possible terms to his use of the phrase ‘white saviour.’ I would be vilified for the reverse.”
Styles was awarded an OBE in 2018 as a Publisher and Ambassador for the GREAT Campaign, for services to the economy, diversity and charity.
David Lammy has since sought to clarify his comments about Stacey Dooley.
He wrote: “Hi @StaceyDooley. This isn’t personal and I don’t question your good motives.
“My problem with British celebrities being flown out by Comic Relief to make these films is that it sends a distorted image of Africa which perpetuates an old idea from the colonial era.
“Comic Relief has a huge platform and privilege and it is the first and major way children learn about Africa.
“If they only show Africans as helpless victims to be pitied, children miss the broader picture of huge progress in Africa.”
Lammy added: “Comic Relief should be helping to establish an image of African people as equals to be respected rather than helpless victims to be pitied. It would therefore be better for people who actually live there to speak about the continent they know.
“Many black Brits feel deeply uncomfortable with Comic Relief’s poverty porn. It’s my job to represent their views however uncomfortable. They want their children to have rounded views about Africa and these types of campaign woefully fail to do that.”