Rachel Riley sparks backlash with Photoshopped anti-Jeremy Corbyn t-shirt

Rachel Riley has sparked major controversy for Photoshopping a picture of Jeremy Corbyn to erase an anti-apartheid message.

The Countdown star has been vocal in her opposition to the Labour Party leader over allegations of anti-Semitism in the party.

However, the 33-year-old has been criticised for wearing a t-shirt during the leader debate that wiped out an anti-apartheid poster that Corbyn held at a protest.

Rachel – who is expecting her first baby with husband Pasha Kovalev – tweeted on Tuesday night: ‘I didn’t feel comfortable knowing my workplace was to be full of racists tonight. I don’t endorse Boris, but I do endorse #NeverCorbyn. Please see my pinned thread if you still don’t understand why. #LeadersDebate #LabourAntisemitism.’

In the attached picture, Rachel wore a t-shirt that showed a photo of Corbyn being arrested on an anti-apartheid protest in 1984.

However, Rachel’s t-shirt saw Corbyn holding a Photoshopped placard reading: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a racist endeavour.’

The original picture shows Corbyn holding a sign reading: ‘Defend the right to demonstrate against apartheid; join this picket.’

The edited top was previously worn by other anti-Corbyn protesters at an anti-Semitism demo last September in London.

Rachel’s t-shirt has attracted major backlash, with many accusing her of erasing his anti-racism message.

One person tweeted: ‘Dislike corbyn, whatever – it’s a free country – but jfc a white person doing this shows a complete detachment from reality. Precisely the kind of behaviour rewarded by the media (as long as you attack the left).’

Another read: ‘This is, without doubt, the craziest thing I’ve seen on twitter. A white person erasing an anti-apartheid message is new levels of bizarre. It’s something you expect from the alt-right. This person has fronted ‘anti-trolling’ campaigns. Good grief.’

While one critic wrote: ‘Did my girl actually erase the anti-apartheid message to do this??

‘I. Can. Friggin. NOT. It’s not just any old message you’re erasing. It was a friggin struggle against severe and brutal legalised racism.’

Rachel responded to the backlash by tweeting a link to a story about Nelson Mandela allegedly declining to meet Corbyn’s anti-apartheid movement CLAAG (City of London Anti-Apartheid Movement).

She wrote: ‘Without feeding individual ignorant trolls, this is why I have no qualms using this photo to highlight Corbyn’s racism. “He was actually a member of CLAAG… “a front” for a violence prone Trotskyist group known as the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG)”.’

These claims were made in the book Youth Activism and Solidarity: The Non-Stop Picket Against Apartheid, written by academics Gavin Brown and Helen Yaffe, which claimed that an attempted meeting between CLAGG and Nelson Mandela never happened.

The former Strictly Come Dancing star continued: ‘Why would Nelson Mandela be advised by actual anti-apartheid heroes not to meet Corbyn and his extremist group if they were so fantastic? Because that’s more leftist revisionism. Along with inviting the IRA and friends from Hamas for tea in parliament somehow helps people.

‘People can shout all they like. Most are ignorant of the facts. Which they still won’t read when they’re laid out in black and white.’

During the ITV Leader Debate between Corbyn and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday night, Mr Corbyn said anti-Semitism was ‘an absolute evil and scourge within our society’ and insisted the party treated the issue ‘very, very seriously’.

ITV host Julie Etchingham received a round of applause when she asked Mr Corbyn about a poll showing many Jewish people do not trust him over anti-Semitism.

The Labour leader replied: ‘I have taken action in my party, where anyone who has committed any anti-Semitic acts or made any anti-Semitic statements, they are either suspended or expelled from the party and we’ve investigated every single case.

‘We do take this very seriously indeed.’

However, Mr Corbyn was again accused of anti-Semitism for his pronunciation of Jeffrey Epstein’s name during the debate. 

This comes after former Labour MP Luciana Berger accused the party of a ‘serious racist problem’ and said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn and his team have created a party machine which protects and normalises anti-Semitic ideas and individuals.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted Rachel Riley and Jeremy Corbyn’s reps for comment.

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