Martin Lewis has spoken about the abuse he has received for being Jewish and the antisemitic nickname he was given at school.
The consumer expert, founder and chair of MoneySavingExpert.com, appeared on BBC’s Political Thinking and opened up about his faith and identity.
Lewis said he had been given two nicknames in school that centred of him being Jewish.
He said: “My nickname at school was ‘Jew’. There were two Jews in the year and my nickname was ‘Jew’. And it had originally had been ‘Jewy Lewy’ or something warmer, but it was shortened.”
(Please click on the link below to watch the interview on Twitter, or you can find it here).
Lewis said the nickname “was just something I accepted” and that attitudes in the 1980s, when he was at school, were different.
He explained: “I didn’t see it as pejorative, I didn’t see it as antisemitic. I look back at it and think that it was [antisemitic] but… that was just how people did things in those days.”
Lewis also recalled how one boy would throw sweets and call it ‘Jewy’ and would to see if Lewis would run to grab the sweets, saying it was “the only bit I remember I didn’t like”.
He added: “I think it was certainly unacceptable with my 50-year-old eyes now and if my child went through that, I would be going in to complain to the school and it would be outrageous. But this was the 1980s and we were not the same on race, religion and diversity that we are now.”
When host Nick Robinson asked if the abuse he received as a child had shaped him now, Lewis revealed how he had experienced antisemitism from a “well-known broadcaster” in the past.
He said: “I remember a well-known broadcaster making a couple of really inappropriate gags, which I then never did that programme again.
“I didn't call them out, this is early on in my career and I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to try it now.”
Referencing Jewish stereotypes that are aimed at him from some on social media, Lewis said: “I get on social media sometimes, 'No wonder you're good with money, you're Jewish’.
“And I call back and say, 'You do realise that's antisemitic?’”
He added: “As I always say, I’m the Money Saving Expert and I'm Jewish – I’m not the Money Saving Expert because I'm Jewish.”