Jon Snow attracts more than 2,000 Ofcom complaints over 'white people' comment at pro-Brexit march

Tom Beasley
Jon Snow hosts a Q&A during the Human Flow premiere at Milton Court Concert Hall on December 4, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images For Altitude Film)

Channel 4 news anchor Jon Snow has attracted more than 2,000 complaints to Ofcom after saying, while covering a pro-Brexit march in Westminster, that he had “never seen so many white people in one place”.

The 71-year-old broadcasting veteran made the remark while signing off a Channel 4 news broadcast on Friday, 29 March.

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He was referring to pro-Brexit protesters, who filled the streets of Westminster in order to mark the day on which the United Kingdom was originally supposed to leave the European Union.

Snow said: “It’s been the most extraordinary day – a day which has seen… I have never seen so many white people in one place.

“It’s an extraordinary story. There are people everywhere, there are crowds everywhere.”

Pro-Brexit supporters gather in Parliament Square in central London for ‘Leave Means Leave’ rally on the day Britain was originally scheduled to leave EU, on 29 March, 2019. (Photo by WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The broadcasting regulator said it has received 2,025 complaints since the show was broadcast.

The comment drew criticism against Snow on Twitter, with radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer calling his remarks “unbelievably shocking”.

Channel 4 issued a statement, saying they “regret any offence caused” by the comments.

They added: “This was an unscripted observation at the very end of a long week of fast-moving Brexit developments.

“Jon has covered major events such as this over a long career and this was a spontaneous comment reflecting his observation that, in a London demonstration of that size, ethnic minorities seemed to be significantly under-represented.”

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A spokeswoman for Ofcom said they were assessing the complaints, but were yet to decide whether to formally investigate.