Gemma Chan rips into the Sunday Times for their racist coverage of Prince Philip

Actress Gemma Chan arrives at the World Premiere Of Marvel Studios 'Captain Marvel' held at the El Capitan Theatre on March 4, 2019 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency)

Prince Philip’s funeral was on Saturday, and the Sunday Times devoted a lot of ink to memorializing Philip and summarizing what happened at the funeral. On the front page of the Sunday Times’ print edition, something completely awful was printed in the third paragraph. The paper described Philip as “an often crotchety figure, offending people with gaffes about slitty eyes, even if secretly we rather enjoyed them.” It should be noted that the Times pulled that part for their online edition. Only people who picked up a print copy of the newspaper would get to see that. A photo of the print edition made the rounds online, and Gemma Chan – a wonderful and talented British actress of Chinese descent – was one of many people noting how f–king terrible it was.

Gemma Chan is bringing attention to a piece of journalism she feels lacks integrity, especially amid the recent surge of hate crimes against people of Asian descent. In a Monday Instagram post, the Crazy Rich Asians star re-shared a clip from British newspaper The Sunday Times’ report on Prince Philip’s recent funeral — specifically, a passage that called the late royal “an often crotchety figure, offending people with gaffes about slitty eyes, even if secretly we rather enjoyed them.”

“This was written by a journalist who should know better, approved by editors and sent to print,” Chan captioned the post. “To trivialize casual racism in the most widely read Sunday broadsheet at a point when the Asian diaspora is experiencing a surge of attacks is deeply irresponsible.”

“We need more people of color in newsrooms,” added the English actress, 38, concluding by asking readers to sign a petition requesting “a retraction and an apology” from the newspaper.

On Tuesday, the editor of The Sunday Times, Emma Tucker, issued a statement apologizing for the outlet’s wording. “This so-called ‘gaffe’ made by Prince Philip was a well-known aspect of his life story,” she said, according to The Guardian. While Tucker insisted that the paper “did not intend to condone” Prince Philip’s comment, she added, “It was noted by us on Saturday night that the sentence was offensive and it was not published in digital editions.”

“Christina Lamb has spent her whole career reporting on discrimination and injustices against people in every part of the world and never intended to make light of his remark in any way,” Tucker concluded of the paper’s chief foreign correspondent, who wrote the piece.

[From People]

“Did not intend to condone”??? And why do they think that citing Christina Lamb’s reporting on discrimination and injustice will make this better? If anything, it makes it WORSE. That a reporter with a background in covering discrimination thought it was A-OK to write that “secretly we rather enjoyed” when Philip was racist as hell? Anyway, I love Gemma Chan and I love that she’s calling these a–holes to account.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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46 Responses to “Gemma Chan rips into the Sunday Times for their racist coverage of Prince Philip”

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  1. Stacy Dresden says:

    WOW. On full display. Someone should pay for this. Superficial note, Gemma Chan looks too beautiful to be real. I think she may be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen

    • Mrs. Peel says:

      She is stunningly beautiful – but also intelligent, articulate and outspoken – pretty much the perfect combination!

      • Watson says:

        So glad she spoke up in this issue. When i read the original article i just was floored…how could something like that ever be printed?!? Disgusting.

    • Moxylady says:

      Superficial note as well. She is easily one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Goodness. Duchess Meghan too. This is some next level shit.

      • Indywom says:

        She is absolutely gorgeous and a good actress. She was perfect for the role in Crazy Rich Asians. I hope the sequels focus more on her character like the books.

      • Hungry says:

        She’s so elegant and gorgeous. Very articulate and intelligent too. Glad she called out the newspaper.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I agree with everything. The sad thing is, there will be no comeuppance for the article. Racism will continue unchecked, both within the British royal family and the tabloids who report on them.

      • fishface says:

        ….and ironically the Times podcast (Story of our Times) ran a whole piece just last week about the widely excoriated Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report, which the UN has lambasted. “In 2021, it is stunning to read a report on race and ethnicity that repackages racist tropes and stereotypes into fact, twisting data and misapplying statistics and studies into conclusory findings and ad hominem attacks on people of African descent,” the independent UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent said in a statement. The Times podcast interviewed many people who talked about how racism in the UK is deeply institutionalised….but clearly didn’t bother to look at their own newsroom.

  2. Summerlover says:

    I saw this Times article. Basically they are saying that “Prince Philip made these statements and we loved him for it. Nobody complained. Only Meghan did. Ergo, it’s Meghan’s issue, not UKs”.

    • Ines says:

      People did complain. What the article is saying is that even those who complained, secretly loved it.

      • goofpuff says:

        Exactly. That was some seriously offensive gas-lighting crap. yes, we all secretly love it when people act like racists a-holes to us. (sarcasm obviously)

  3. Zaya says:

    If she spent her whole career reporting on discrimination and injustice, then she should have known better. Even if she didn’t spend her career doing that, she should have known better. I saw this and was appalled. I’m glad Gemma Chan called it out.

    • Lemons says:

      So glad she called this out, because I’m just done with the UK acting like there’s no problem. It looks like Christina should be put on another section because she CLEARLY doesn’t know how to report on discrimination if it’s not spelled with a capital D because the casual discrimination, racism and micro aggressions slipped in quite easily.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      It makes you wonder exactly what she’s been writing in regards to discrimination and injustice for all these years. I seriously doubt her reporting is worth a damn if she was quietly enjoying one of the most famous and powerful men in the country racist “jokes”.

      • Saartjie says:

        Oo oo, I can guess! She’ll have been writing about how people who aren’t white run their countries badly and commit discrimination and injustices! Nothing the British like better than feeling morally superior to dusky colonials!

  4. PEARL GREY says:

    Many white Brits do rather enjoy casual racism. They dress it up as “banter” and get offended if you dare point out that they’re actually just being racist and disrespectful. They loved Prince Philip’s insulting comments because they also don’t know how to speak to people of colour without making racist references and passing it off as “jokes”. Good for Gemma for not bowing down to the royalist sycophants and flag-shaggers who think Philip cannot be criticised because he was a white man, the Queen’s husband and passed away. The editor and writer absolutely did seek to condone Philip’s racism. I am tired of it being referred to as “gaffes”. It is the epitome of privilege.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      Not just Brits, continental Europe is the same, sometimes even more direct. Philip’s more known comments were translated and widely shared in these days, in that “old man saying silly things, but wasn’t he hilarious” kind of way.

    • SarahCS says:

      Agreed, this is why we’re having the fiasco with the governments ‘there’s no institutional racism in Britain please of about your business’ race report. It runs deep and is hugely prevalent in those with power and impact/reach (media)

  5. FancyHat says:

    Every once in a while, media racism truly shocks me. This did it. How incredibly offensive.

    • Sid says:

      I was shocked too, even after everything we’ve seen. For the writer to call such a blatantly racist comment a “gaffe” and say everyone secretly enjoyed it really had my eyebrows all the way up. These people are really exposing themselves.

      • Lyds says:

        Exactly. It was the “we secretly enjoyed it” part that was the most offensive. Who the heck is “we”? Can only be a certain segment of white people. How narrowly do you envision and cast your readership to write and presume such a thing? It would also be one thing if they said his “many gaffes” and left it at that, but to pointedly single out the slitty-eye comment is just them casually lifting their shirts to show their racist, Swastika-emblazoned underbelly.

      • Hungry says:


  6. Keri says:

    So much for the bought and paid for government investigation claiming, “The UK isn’t racist.” They continually and consistently show the world their racist selves despite all their protestations to the contrary. It’s so clear that TPTB have no problem assigning this woman to cover and write articles about inequality and racism while she so clearly is a racist *sshole herself. That they are doubling down in their defense of this journalistic hack says it all.

  7. lanne says:

    These are the people who believe that the UK has no institutional racism problem because white people say so. Never mind all the colonizing and the Windrush generation and Brexit “stop the coloureds from coming” and the racist royal family. The mind boggles.

  8. Becks1 says:

    I was so shocked when I saw that. Someone read that and thought, yeah, we did enjoy his racist comments, let’s print that.

    Maybe some Brits did secretly or not so secretly enjoy his racism, but let’s not normalize that. Let’s not act like its okay to enjoy the racist comments.

    And I love Gemma Chan.

  9. Nina Simone says:

    My jaw is in the floor. But ultimately I can’t even be surprised.

  10. Seraphina says:

    As I have heard older people say: Give a person time and they will show you who they really are – and believe it.

  11. Sofia says:

    I saw that comment on Twitter and thought it was an unbelievably racist and stupid comment to print. And would it have been so hard for Christina Lamb to offer a decent apology instead of “I can’t be racist because I fight the racists!”

    Good for Gemma for highlighting and calling out the comment

  12. OriginalLala says:

    I want to be shocked, but anything related to the BRF is always tinged (or totally steeped) in racism.

  13. Amy Bee says:

    Christian Lamb is also the Times’ Chief Foreign Correspondent which makes this even more worse. More proof that the Society of UK Editors were lying when it said the British press is not racist. This is why many in the press no longer like Harry, he’s not the good old racist anymore.

  14. Kimber says:

    The British media is very much not racist, didn’t you know?? Ugh

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Repulsive display of the same damn shit we’ve personally heard and read about for centuries. I think they get hard-ons being controversial. Only racism isn’t controversial, imo. It’s inhuman.

  16. Lizzie says:

    Wonderful how they excuse the reporter. Every Asian employee at that paper should be knocking on hr’s door.
    About a decade ago one of the managers where I worked (huge international company) was in a meeting with his team and started mocking an Asian coworkers accent. He was walked out the door the same day. This should happen with the reporter and anyone who made excuses for her.

  17. KansasGal says:

    Diversity Training 101: Impact vs. Intent. When the impact of words or actions is pain and offense, the intent is irrelevant. I didn’t see an apology in that statement, and an apology was the only appropriate response.

  18. Mia says:

    I’m glad she called them out.

  19. Faye G says:

    Just when I thought great Britain couldn’t sink any lower… I used to want to visit that country, my mother has ancestors from there, but I think I will stay away and instead spend my tourist dollars on places that aren’t gleefully, openly racist. What a shitshow.

  20. Nibbi says:

    Gemma Chan is pretty much just goals, all around. I’m glad she called them out.

  21. LizzyTish says:

    That they ran this is stupid on multiple levels. The blatant racism alone should have killed it, but even if that didn’t, the line in question is terribly written. Any editor, even a racist one, should have redlined it.

  22. Ginger says:

    Truly flabbergasted and disgusted, that this would be printed in a national paper. They really think they’re something, don’t they. This example patently shows how racism is all about putting others down (Asians) to prop up the in-group (white English). Zero respect.

  23. Pepperpot says:

    Nothing to see here. Boris Johnson’s people said the UK is not racist.

  24. Mia says:

    Oh and thank you for covering her calling them out. I’ve been so depressed with all the toxic racist media this blog is like a lungful fresh air.

  25. Monica says:

    In light of this, even though we know Harry denied that Philip make the skin color remark, doesn’t it just sound like something he’d say?

    • Hannah Young says:

      It’s possible, but since H & M said it wasn’t said by the Queen nor Philip, I know old people like Philip – he’ll order or pour me a drink, complement me and also say something sexist and racist. For the most part, people let them off the hook for being an old, charming rascally gentleman. The skin color type comment is usually delivered with feigned concern and innocent curiosity, neither of which the likes of Philip can be bothered with.

  26. Miss Margo says:

    The editor approved “slitty eyes” being written and printed. Holy friggin crap. Get your head out of the sand and educate yourself!

  27. ClareV says:

    Disgusting. I’m so glad she’s is using her platform to call out this BS. She’s smart (oxford law degree!), talented, and gorgeous!