Loose Women host Charlene White quits press awards role after racism statement

Loose Women panelist Charlene White
(Image credit: Alamy)

Loose Women host Charlene White has quit her press awards role following racism statement.

Charlene White (opens in new tab) has announced she has stepped down from her press awards role following racist statement.

The Loose Women host has decided to quit as the host of the Society Of Editors' National Press Awards after its recent statement claimed the UK press is 'not racist'.

It comes after the Society of editors released its controversial statement after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey (opens in new tab) aired earlier this week.

Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey that the UK tabloid media is "bigoted" and creates a "toxic environment" of "control and fear" as they were discussing their decision to quit the UK and step back as senior royals (opens in new tab).

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The Society of Editors said the media is not bigoted and is holding the "rich and powerful to account".

But as a result of the statement, Loose Women host Charlene White, who was part of Loose Women's first all-black panel (opens in new tab), has taken the decision to step down in her role as judge, making her reasons clear in a letter to executive director Ian Murray.

According to the HuffPost, the 40-year-old said, ‘Following your recent comments regarding race and the UK press, I have decided to no longer make myself available to present the Society Of Editors’ British Press Awards this month.

‘A few years ago, your organisation approached me to become a judge for its awards and to work alongside you because at that time it was hugely lacking in terms of it being a fair reflection of the UK population. In other words, the nominations and winners list involved very few non-white journalists.'

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Her statement continued, 'This is not an unusual scenario unfortunately. Over the years several organisations have been held to account for eradicating and ignoring the work of ethnic minorities professionals – and women. So, you told me you wanted that to change. In fact, we spoke at length about it.'

But Charlene, who blasted co-star Jane Moore (opens in new tab) for being ok with 'casual racism' in Meghan Markle interview discussion earlier this week, went on to highlight that she only works with "organisations who practice what they preach".

She explained, 'My time is precious, so I’d rather not waste it. Since the Black Lives Matter movement really took hold in the UK last year, every single institution in this country has had to finally look at its failings and its position in terms of how they treat ethnic minorities both inside and outside of its walls. But for some unknown reason, you feel as though the UK press is exempt in that discussion.’

Loose Women host Charlene White described herself as "a black woman who has consistently stood up for what she believes in, irrespective of the impact it would have on my career".

She added, ‘So perhaps it’s best for you to look elsewhere for a host for your awards this year. Perhaps someone whose views align with yours: that the UK press is the one institution in the entire country who has a perfect record on race.’

Charlene also tweeted, 'Yep, that's right' to confirm quitting her role.

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The board of the Society of Editors released a further statement after objections were received following it's original response. It clarified, ‘The Society of Editors has a proud history of campaigning for freedom of speech and the vital work that journalists do in a democracy to hold power to account.

'Our statement on Meghan and Harry was made in that spirit but did not reflect what we all know: that there is a lot of work to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion.

‘We will reflect on the reaction our statement prompted and work towards being part of the solution.’

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for Goodto.com, Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.