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Backlash as Fans Call for Channel 4 to Sack Countdown Star

Rachel Riley has faced backlash on social media for apologizing for her remarks on the Sydney mall stabbings, with some calling for her to be removed from Countdown.

The 38-year-old mother of two was criticized for potentially fueling Islamophobia by incorrectly suggesting that the tragic attack, in which six people were killed, was a Palestinian uprising. The attack was actually carried out by Joel Cauchi, 40, from Queensland, who was confirmed by police to have mental health issues.

Referring to her now-deleted tweet where she linked the shopping mall assault to a “globalized Intifada,” Rachel expressed regret in her apology if her words were “misunderstood.” However, some social media users are not satisfied with her apology and have urged Channel 4 to dismiss her.

One person shared a petition calling for Rachel’s removal, stating: “Rachel Riley’s position on Countdown is untenable – Sign the Petition!” Another individual pointed out the perceived Islamophobia in Rachel’s original tweet and criticized her for making the situation about herself.

Another user expressed their displeasure, saying: “I cannot, in good conscience, remain silent. We must not remain silent. When we see such bigotry, Islamophobia, racism & hatred we must call it out. Rachel Riley must be held accountable for these vile & divisive comments.”

In her extensive apology following the tweet, Rachel clarified her intentions by stating: “Just to clarify, my intention with this tweet was not to say this attack was caused by any ideation or to link it to Islamic extremism.” She explained her aim was to draw attention to the weekly calls for ‘intifada’ happening in London and around the world, emphasizing her concern about violence in the streets.

Rachel, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev, often speaks out against antisemitism and received an MBE for her contributions to Holocaust education in the 2023 New Year Honours.

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