Entertainment

Mastermind presenter left ‘shaken’ by death threats and racist abuse

British broadcaster Clive Myrie says he was left “shaken” after receiving death threats talking about the kind of bullet that would be used to kill him.

The Mastermind host spoke about receiving racial hatred since becoming a more “visible” presenter during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

He said he had received excrement and “cards in the post with gorillas on”, as well as emails which read: “You shouldn’t be on our TV; you dress like a pimp”.

“But one chap issued death threats, and he was tracked down and prosecuted, and his death threats involved talking about the kind of bullet that he’d use in the gun to kill me and this kind of stuff,” Myrie said.

“I was shaken for a while after I’d been told. I thought it’s just someone showboating. It’s just bravado.

“And then they tracked down this character, and it turned out that he had previous convictions for firearms offences. So (I) thought, ‘Oh my God, what, if anything, might this person have been planning?’.”


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Myrie, the son of Jamaican parents, was born in Bolton and studied law at university before gaining a place on the BBC’s journalism trainee scheme in 1988.

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“I didn’t want to be seen as a black journalist,” he said on Desert Island Discs.

“I wanted to be a journalist who just happens to be black. I didn’t want the BBC to fall into lazy thinking, which was so easy at the time.”

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He added: “Notting Hill Carnival – send the black guy, riot out on the street in some inner city area – send the black guy. I didn’t want that.

“…I didn’t want my colour to define who I am, and the BBC understood that.”

The 59-year-old is set to co-host the BBC’s election night coverage for the first time, taking over from Huw Edwards, who resigned and left the corporation earlier this year after allegations he paid a young person for sexually explicit photos.

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