Second Change UK Candidate Steps Down In 24 Hours After Racist And Sexist Tweets Resurface

Isabel Togoh

Change UK has suffered a fresh blow after a second candidate in 24 hours was forced to resign when racist and sexist tweets he wrote were unearthed.

Joseph Russo was announced as the party’s lead candidate in Scotland yesterday, but today he stepped down after it emerged he tweeted: “Black women scare me. I put this down to be chased through Amsterdam by a crazy black wh***”.

In another past comment targeted at an African-American woman, he said: “Id burn her as a yule log”, after referring to her as a “b****”.

He wrote in another tweet: “I wonder if there’s a c*** / anchovy correlation. One smells like the other.”

The comments are believed to have surfaced between 2010 and 2013, The Independent reported.

Russo confirmed his decision to step down as a candidate in the European elections on Twitter, saying he had done so in the interests of his metal health.

“I have not stood for elected office before. Though it was a privilege to have been selected for @TheIndGroup, I have found the last 24hrs exhausting and was not fully prepared for the level of personal scrutiny I’d be under.

“As a result, and in the interests of my mental health I have decided not to proceed with my candidacy.

“I wish the remaining ChangeUK candidates the best of luck in their bid to change politics and ensure Scotland has a strong pro-remain voice in the European Parliament.”

We have discussed this with Joseph Russo and it has been agreed that he will stand down and is no longer on our list of candidates

Change UK said in a statement: “We have been made aware of several offensive Twitter posts. We have discussed this with Joseph Russo and it has been agreed that he will stand down and is no longer on our list of candidates.”

It comes after Ali Sadjady, a Change UK candidate in London and former Tory, stepped down shortly after being announced on Tuesday following disparaging comments about Romanian people.

“When I hear that 70% of pick pockets caught on the London Underground are Romanian it kind makes me want Brexit,” he had tweeted in 2017.

In another tweet following the EU referendum in 2016, he said: “Brexit is like dumping your girlfriend because she’s expensive and high maintenance and then realizing she’s pretty hot.”

One of the party’s founding MPs, Angela Smith, was forced to apologise in February after saying on the BBC’s Politics Live programme: “It’s not just about being black or a funny tinge…you know a different, from the BME community.”

“I am very sorry about any offence caused, and I am very upset that I misspoke so badly. It is not what I am, and I am committed to fighting racism wherever I find it in our society,” she said.

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