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This week the BBC disrespected Diane Abbott, upskirting became illegal, and Gillette went woke

21 Jan 2019


Illustration by Michelle W

If you’re lost with what’s been happening with Brexit, here’s a synopsis: it’s not going well. This week, Diane Abbott accused BBC’s Question Time of legitimising racism after the Derby episode saw her allegedly singled out in the pre-show audience warm-up. Many viewers noticed she was spoken over more than any other panellist, and a sound engineer commented on Twitter that her mic was set at a lower volume.

Something good did happen in parliament last week though. If someone tries to take a picture of your genitals in public without permission by sticking a camera into your crotch, now you can do something about it. It’s taken a weirdly long time but upskirting is finally illegal in the UK, after the tireless campaigning of Gina Martin, 25. Since a man took a picture of her crotch at a London festival she’s been raising awareness of this legal blindspot, after a few stumbling blocks (and by that, I mean an old Tory that tried to block a new law) the bill has passed. Offenders can face up to two years in jail.

The fact that the law didn’t exist until now just shows how trash men get away with being trash. Though there is a brand that is stepping in to curb the same toxic masculinity that might lead a man to sexually harass women: Gillette. Through its new ad where it exhibits all-too-familiar traits of toxic masculinity and sexism in the home, public, and workplace, before replacing its historical slogan est. 1989 “The best a man can get” with “The best men can be”. it was trying to challenge the traditional idea of manhood, but when a huge corporation is at the helm of a social justice campaign, the motive is questionable as profit is always at the root of their decision-making.

Companies will always cash in on what’s cool, so at the very least, it’s good that equality and healthy masculinity are on that agenda for marketers following a long history of racist and sexist advertising principles. The ad suffered a “huge backlash” according to many media sources, but further investigation into the Twitter “storm” revealed many of the outraged accounts calling for a boycott of the razor brand had very few followers and amounted to a fairly negligible online reaction. The only real face for the backlash, based in pure and intentional misunderstanding, was Piers Morgan, which only weakens any side of a debate he touches.

Here’s what went down in the last week.

The Met Police strip-search ethnic minorities more

Strip searches are being carried out disproportionately on black and ethnic minority (BAME) suspects by the Met police. Official watchdogs have even warned that some people have their clothing removed without any justification.

The joint report with the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Peter Clarke, and HM Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, said that strip searches included a “disproportionately higher number of black and minority ethnic detainees”. BAME detainees accounted for 25% of the people who passed through the system, yet made up 51% of those strip-searched. The inspection of 15 custody suits in London found over 10,000 people were strip searched over a 12-month period, amounting to 16 per cent of detainees.

The number of strip-searches were “high”, finding that 10,000 detainees were strip searched in 2018 under the MET Police – a higher rate than other British police forces – including “many children”.

The report concluded: “the numbers of strip searches were high…overall not all strip searches were warranted or properly justified.”

Junk food adverts are targeting black and Hispanic kids in America

Marketing campaigns advertising unhealthy food and drink are being consciously directed at black and Hispanic children.

A new report by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that junk food comprises of 86% of ad spending on black-targeted programming and 82% of spending on Spanish-language television in 2017.

In 2013, black youth saw 70%more food-related ads than their white counterparts, and this increased to 119% more in 2017. This advertisement targeting happens through the selection of TV channels with over 50 % black or Hispanic audiences. This includes channels like “Badami Productions, BET, BET Her, Central City Entertainment, NBA TV, TV One, and VH1.” These channels air the likes of Empire, The Wendy Williams Show, The Parkers, and Family Matters.

The study found that while food companies decreased their spending on TV advertising by 4% between 2013 and 2017, they upped their spending on black-targeted programs by more than 50%.

Shiriki Kumanyika, one of the study’s authors and chair of the Council on Black Health, wrote: “At best, these advertising patterns imply that food companies view Black consumers as interested in candy, sugary drinks, fast food, and snacks with a lot of salt, fat, or sugar, but not in healthier foods.”

It is particularly concerning that the health of BAME youth is being targeted as they experience higher risks of most diseases, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  • Princess Nokia accused Ariana Grande of stealing her flow from “Mine” on the recently released “7 Rings”. Another producer then said she had plagiarised his melody for her track in the first place. Maybe no one is original.
  • Indian soldiers are being catfished online by people in Pakistan pretending to be Indian love interests in order to gain sensitive information on the movements and location of the Indian military.
  • Miss Algeria, Khadija Ben Hamou, has been the victim of colourism after online trolls branded her “ugly” for her “dark skin” after she won the crown.
  • The Weeknd has come under fire for being homophobic in the lyrics for Lost in Fire. The lyrics fetishise female queerness, calling it a “phase”, before he sings: “Well, baby, you can bring a friend/She can ride on top your face while I fuck you straight.”


  • Playing Red Dead Online, a Western-inspired video game, as a black character means having to endure slave catchers, KKK-like clans, and other racist players.
  • Hallandale Beach, Florida, commissioner and Islamophobe Anabelle Lima-Taub called for the removal of Muslim Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib, saying “A Hamas loving anti-semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”


  • South Africa has given a stamp of approval for the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, championing intra-African trade and the socio-economic transformation of Africa.
  • Chelsea football club faces a part-stadium closure after allegations that their travelling supporters engaged in racist chanting during the draw against Vidi in Budapest last month.

Moment of the Week


Is this a troll?