Conservative councillor who called Arsenal legend Ian Wright a ‘typical black hypocrite’ over Gary Lineker row faces investigation
- Alexis McEvoy said she was ‘deeply sorry’ after criticism of her Twitter post
- McEvoy, from Hampshire, said she had suspended herself as a Tory councillor
A Conservative councillor who called Arsenal legend Ian Wright a ‘typical black hypocrite’ over his support for Gary Lineker is under investigation for her comment.
Alexis McEvoy, from Hampshire, has said she is ‘deeply sorry’ for the wording of her post on social media, but claimed it had been taken ‘out of context’.
It came after Lineker was taken off air by bosses at the BBC for his comments on the Government’s anti-illegal immigration bill – which led to 59-year-old Wright and other pundits refusing to appear on Match of the Day in an act of solidarity.
Councillor McEvoy made the remark when responding to a tweet which mockingly called Wright ‘Mr Solidarity’ for not supporting Matt Le Tissier’s departure from Sky Sports in 2020 after his Covid rants.
Retweeting the post on her Twitter account, which had 500 followers, Cllr McEvoy added the phrase ‘A typical black hypocrite’ alongside an angry devil emoji.
Councillor Alexis McEvoy (pictured), from Hampshire, sparked fury with her tweet about former Arsenal and England footballer Ian Wright
The Conservative councillor called Mr Wright (pictured) a ‘typical black hypocrite’ over his support for Gary Lineker
The councillor, who represents Fawley, Blackfield and Langley on New Forest District Council, and South Waterside on Hampshire County Council, has since apologised.
In a statement issued by the county’s Conservative group, Cllr McEvoy said: ‘I am aware that a tweet I sent, and then deleted, has caused offence.
‘I did not mean it to do so and I am deeply sorry.
‘I find racism in any form abhorrent, I have therefore reported myself to the monitoring officer at both Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council and have suspended myself from both the Conservative groups at New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council, pending investigations.’
The tweet, which was posted on Saturday afternoon, was a repost of another post criticising Wright for his lack of support for fellow pundit Matt Le Tissier.
Le Tissier was let go by Sky Sports in 2020 after making claims about the origins of Covid and later claimed bosses sacked him to save the channel’s reputation.
The tweet has since been deleted and Cllr McEvoy’s Twitter account deactivated, while she is investigated by New Forest District Council.
However, Cllr McEvoy, who is also a member of the New Forest National Park Authority, has claimed the tweet was taken ‘out of context’ by political opponents.
She said: ‘I’ve removed the tweet now, and it was taken out of context.
‘I’m not really going to comment on it. I’ve had enough of it, quite frankly – people like [Lib Dem] Cllr Jack Davies trying to portray me in a bad light.’
A screenshot of the tweet Cllr McEvoy posted on Saturday. It has since been deleted and her account deactivated
She added: ‘I’ve deleted the tweet because of the comments he was making. He’s a trouble-making person and I’ve taken the tweet down.
‘Are we going to talk about all the good things I do for people, whatever colour they are? I do a lot of good things for people. I’m not prepared to make a further comment on it.
‘I’m tired of Jack Davies trying to stir things up – that’s why I’ve now blocked him on Twitter. He’s troublesome.
READ MORE HERE: Tim Davie and BBC bosses hold crisis meetings with staff across radio, TV and news ‘to take questions and reflect’ on ‘Linekergate’
‘I’m not stupid; we’ve got the elections coming up and people are looking for an excuse to try and discredit me.’
Cllr McEvoy, of Langley, Hampshire, has run a restaurant and guest house in the village for years and lists her skills as including ‘exceptional communication skills, diplomacy and conflict resolution’ as well as ‘complaint handling’.
Cllr Davies responded: ‘People should have faith that their councillors will treat them the same as everybody else, regardless of skin colour.
‘Clearly, Cllr McEvoy has shown that she is unable to do that through her postings on social media.
‘I have urged the Conservative leader on New Forest District Council to withdraw the whip from Cllr McEvoy.’
In a letter to Tory leader Jill Cleary, Cllr Davies said the post had ‘encouraged division and racism’ before calling for ‘robust’ disciplinary action to be taken on Cllr McEvoy.
Wright’s support for Lineker came after the Match of the Day host was taken off air by bosses at the BBC for his criticism of the Government’s anti-illegal immigration bill.
The former England footballer, who is outspoken on social media, claimed language surrounding the bill was similar to that used in 1930s Germany, likening it to the Nazis.
After his suspension pundits and colleagues at BBC Sport walked out of their jobs and refused to appear, leading to last weekend’s football coverage being disrupted and severely curtailed.
The corporation and director-general Tim Davie then performed a humiliating u-turn confirming Lineker would be allowed back on air without apologising, before announcing a review of its social media policy.
On Twitter Lineker said: ‘After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this.
‘I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming.’
He added: ‘A final thought: however difficult the last few days have been, it simply doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away. It’s heartwarming to have seen the empathy towards their plight from so many of you.’
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