#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Monday 10 May 2021
Advertisement

Irish hip hop group who Rory Stewart called 'minor gangsters' say his comments 'come from a racist place'

Hare Squead said the former Tory member “was only looking for a photo opp”.

AN IRISH HIP hop group who former British Cabinet minister Rory Stewart labelled “minor gangsters” have said his comments come “from a racist place”. 

Stewart posted an interaction he had with Hare Squead and others on Brick Lane in London on social media back in June and the video went viral, being viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The former Tory, who has since left the party, was then running to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister. He filmed a number of conversation with members of the public during his campaign as part of ‘Rory Walks’.

In the brief clip, the group decided they don’t want to speak to Stewart after hearing he is a politician, with one member telling him: “I don’t fuck with politics, man.”

Stewart captioned the clip “You can’t win ’em all” when he shared it online.

Stewart, who is now running to become Mayor of London, spoke about the interaction at an event on Wednesday evening.

According to the Guardian, he said: “One thing about social media is that it allows people to see politicians listening … I can go to Brick Lane and three sort of minor gangsters can come up to me and spend a minute telling me I’m an idiot. And I can film it on my phone and put it up. And people love watching people being rude to politicians.”

Many have criticised Stewart for how he chose to describe the men.

‘Photo opp’ 

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Hare Squead said: “From the moment we saw Rory Stewart coming towards us on Brick Lane, we knew that he was only looking for a photo opp. He wanted to give himself some clout in the media as someone who can connect with young black men.

He’s trying to be the mayor of one of the most culturally rich and ethnically diverse cities in the world, and yet to him we’re just props for his content. We walked away from him, not just because we aren’t actively engaged in politics, but also because we knew he was just trying to use us. The fake gang signs were just for bants.

“For him to turn around now and call us “minor gangsters” just adds insult to injury, and definitely comes from a racist place. We’ve always made positive music, mostly love songs. His recent comments only confirmed our initial suspicions of his motives.”

Stewart tweeted about the criticism, stating: “I hope anyone who has watched the video will understand I was describing a light-hearted encounter in which some men were – completely understandably – gently mocking me.

“I was trying to describe the incident to an audience that hadn’t seen the video in order to poke fun at myself as a politician in an awkward encounter. I am really sorry for causing offence.”

Hare Squead, made up of Tony Konstone and Lilo Blues, have been making music together since 2013 and have a large following in Ireland and the UK. The group, which is now based in London, plan to release an album next year.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

Read next:

COMMENTS (72)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel