Actress Maxine Peake has responded to backlash over previous comments appearing to link George Floyd’s killing to claims U.S. police had learned tactics from Israeli forces.
The Silk star drew criticism with her suggestion that “tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”
Taking to Twitter on Thursday evening, she said she condemned racism and antisemitism. “I feel it’s important for me to clarify that, when talking to The Independent, I was inaccurate in my assumption of American Police training & its sources,” she said.
“I find racism & antisemitism abhorrent & I in no way wished, nor intended, to add fodder to any views of the contrary,” she added.
She had earlier appeared to draw a connection between Floyd’s death and Israel during a wide-ranging interview with The Independent, which upon being shared approvingly by Labour’s Rebecca Long Bailey led to the MP’s sacking from the front-bench yesterday amid condemnations from Jewish groups.
A correction was added to the interview, informing the reader the piece was amended to “further clarify that the allegation that US police were taught tactics of ‘neck kneeling’ by Israeli secret services is unfounded.”
A spokesperson for Labour leader Keir Starmer said the interview had “contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory.”
Some MPs, however, defended Long Bailey, including the former shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who tweeted: “Throughout discussion of antisemitism it’s always been said criticism of practices of Israeli state is not antisemitic.”
Long Bailey later said sharing the piece had not been intended as an “endorsement of all aspects of the article.”