Veteran journalist Alastair Stewart joins GB News more than a year after he was forced out of role at ITV News over ‘angry ape’ race row
Veteran newsreader Alastair Stewart has joined new channel GB News – over a year after he was forced out of ITN for quoting Shakespeare at a black Twitter user.
The ITV star had previously presented the news for some 45 years before the row exploded at the start of last year.
Stewart, 68, was hauled over the coals by bosses after viewer Martin Shapland, 34, complained about his tweet quoting a Shakespeare passage that contained the phrase ‘angry ape’.
At the time Andrew Neil, who is now chairman of GB News, publicly backed him and said ‘ITN suits had forced him out’.
Stewart appeared to make a veiled reference to the trouble in the statement welcoming him to the new channel.
He said: ‘GB News is a unique opportunity to broaden the spectrum, challenge the groupthink and move away a predictable agenda in news and debate.
‘I can’t wait to get stuck in and tackle issues that really matter to people across the United Kingdom.’
Stewart had been the longest-serving male newsreader after joining Southern Television in 1976 then ITN in 1980.
He married Sally Ann Jung in 1978 and they have four children together, Freddie Stewart, Clemmie Stewart, Oscar Stewart and Alexander Stewart.
But the multiple-award winning presenter and journalist became embroiled in a debate on Twitter with Mr Shapland in January last year.
The duo appeared to be discussing the relationship between the Crown and taxpayer funds.
Mr Stewart said: ‘This is you (sic) last chance.
‘As a student of history you should know the basis of the financial relationship between the Crown and the tax-payer.
‘It was sealed with the Civil List which was subsequently replaced by the Sovereign Grant & finessed by the John Major tax deal’.
Mr Stewart then quoted a speech from Shakespeare play Measure for Measure, which includes the words ‘angry ape’ to an account that is not Mr Shapland’s.
Mr Shapland shared the tweet, adding: ‘Just an ITV newsreader referring to me as an ape with the cover of Shakespeare. Measure for Measure, Alistair is a disgrace.’