Iain Macwhirter to leave The Herald after probe into offensive tweet

The columnist and former rector of the University of Edinburgh was previously suspended over the tweet about the new UK cabinet.

The Herald’s Iain Macwhirter to leave newspaper after probe into offensive tweet By Mike Shaw - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15962165

The Herald’s political columnist Iain Macwhirter is to leave the newspaper following the conclusion of an investigation into racism claims over an offensive tweet.

The former rector of The University of Edinburgh was initially suspended after referring to members of Liz Truss’ new UK cabinet as “the coconut cabinet”.

The tweet quoted another post featuring images of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, home secretary Suella Braverman and foreign secretary James Cleverly.

The term “coconut” is often used in an offensive manner to describe someone perceived as black on the outside and white on the inside.

Macwhirter previously apologised for the tweet and an internal probe by The Herald found there was “no racist intent”.

However, the newspaper acknowledged the post was still “offensive and unacceptable,” adding the columnist would leave after a “mutual discussion”.

In a statement, Macwhirter said the message used “unacceptable” language and was “left wide open to misinterpretation”.

His final column will appear in the newspaper’s Herald on Sunday edition.

“After concluding our investigation, we are satisfied that there was no racist intent in what was still an offensive and unacceptable tweet by our freelance contributor Iain Macwhirter,” a statement from the newspaper read.

“Iain has been an exceptional, long-serving political commentator for The Herald over 22 years. regularly shaping and leading the news agenda in Scotland through authoritative and insightful comments and analysis.

“He has written thoughtfully on race and other sensitive issues over the decades he has been with us, and these pieces have always met our editorial standards and have been well received by our readers.

“After holding discussions, we have mutually agreed that Iain will leave The Herald to pursue other opportunities and his final column will appear in The Herald on Sunday.

“He goes with our best wishes, and we want to put down our sincere thanks to him for the body of work he achieved with the newspaper.”

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