Martin Lewis apologises after offending fans with 'casual racism' comment

Money Saving Expert star issued an apology on Twitter after using the term 'casual racism' in a poll

Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert speaking to an audience of Londoners about the challenges they are facing as a result of the rising cost of living, hosted by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan at City Hall in London. Picture date: Thursday February 2, 2023. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
Martin Lewis apologised for his usage of an offensive phrase. (Getty Images) (Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images)

Martin Lewis has apologised to his fans after he unintentionally offended them with a conversation starter he posted on Twitter.

The Money Saving Expert star regularly posts polls for his followers on the social networking site to get them talking about various topics and on Tuesday he decided to address racism as a topic of discussion.

Lewis, 50, questioned how his fans would react if someone providing them a "one-off service" said something "casually racist" – with the query sparking a backlash from viewers of the tweet.

Read more: Martin Lewis lands regular hosting slot on Good Morning Britain

He wrote: "Today's Twitter Poll: If you were chatting to someone providing you a one-off service (eg hairdresser, cabbie, uber driver, plumber etc) and they said something casually racist – in practice would you call them out on it, or just ignore it?"

The Good Morning Britain star then offered a range of answers for users to select including "I'd call them out", "I'd ignore it" and "I'd probably agree".

London, UK. 20th Mar, 2022. Financial Journalist and Money-saving expert, Martin Lewis, at the BBC for Sunday Morning with Sophie Raworth Credit: Mark Thomas/Alamy Live News
Lewis unintentionally used the term when starting a talking point on Twitter. (Alamy Live News) (Mark Thomas)

Lewis's followers immediately began to respond to the post as they pointed out to him that he shouldn't use the term "casually racist" as they highlighted the negative connotations behind the phrase.

One explained: "I know it isn't your intent, so I need to say there's nothing casual about racism.

Read more: Martin Lewis is not a fan of Everything Everywhere All At Once

"Some define racism as just the visually violent. The throwaway remarks and insidious acts are seen as not serious, something to be brushed aside. The effect is far from benign, please don't dismiss."

Lewis then immediately offered an apology for not realising that he had used an offensive term in his post and thanked his fans for helping to make him more aware.

He wrote: "Just an apology. I used the term 'casually racist' here, which I hadn't realised was a loaded term. I was aiming to describe an off-hand comment, to build a picture of the situation, not in an way to diminish the fact that it is racism.

Martin Lewis
Lewis shared his own experience of calling out racism in the setting he was describing

"Some people have sent me interesting posts on it, which I've read, thank you. It isn't a term I'd use again."

Lewis then explained his own experience of the topic of his poll which saw almost 80,000 people cast their vote and was viewed 1.4 million times.

He said: "I've both called it out politely eg 'I don't agree, and you should be careful that could be viewed as racist'. But also not, when the person felt aggressive and I just disengaged.

"I once had a US barber lecture me on 'the jewish threat' assuming that a Brit I mustn't be jewish."

Watch: Martin Lewis urges government to scrap energy price cap rise