Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Obama ‘Smiled Like a Watermelon’ – Matt Frei, Channel 4 News Presenter

Matt-Frei

 *The disrespect of President Barack Obama continues as a Channel 4 News (in the UK) presenter finds himself in hot water over a racially insensitive remark while covering the Pope’s visit to the US on Wednesday (Sept. 23)

The Daily Mail reports the remark in question came from Channel 4 News Europe Editor Matt Frei who said that Obama  ‘smiled like a split watermelon’ during a meeting with the Pope. Soon after it was made, the remark triggered a swift backlash from offended and angry viewers.

Realizing the damage done, Frei quickly took to Twitter to apologize for what he said, pointing out that he wasn’t aware of the fact that watermelon is often considered a symbol of racism towards black people in America, a long-held stereotype of the fruit being a favorite food among blacks.

“I apologise to those upset by my description of President Obama’s smile on tonight’s programme,” Frei tweeted while stating that he wasn’t aware of racist undertone associated with what he said. .

“It was intended as an entirely innocent phrase that apparently has a history I simply wasn’t aware of. Honestly no offence intended.”

Despite his apology, his comment still struck a sour chord with his fellow Twitter users.

john amaechi and tweets against matt freiBritish former NBA player John Amaechi wrote: ‘I’m sorry, did Channel 4 News just say Obama was “smiling like a split watermelon”? British former NBA player John Amaechi wrote. “WTF. No. Just no. How does that get past editorial?!’ “

After seeing Frei’s apology, things looked to have been smoothed over with Amaechi, who tweeted “Clearly @mattfrei meant no harm… But let’s stick with “grinning like a Cheshire Cat” in future!! ;-)”

Nevertheless, Frei still rubbed many the wrong way as users brought up Frei’s work prior to being Europe Editor for Channel 4 News. The station’s biography of Frei on its website states the reporter worked as “the Washington Correspondent for two years and has reported on the Americas on everything from business and culture to US foreign policy and its view of the world.” In addition the Daily Mail reports that Frei life before Channel 4 included a stint anchoring the BBC World News America bulletin.

“It was very offensive! You spent years in America. Ridiculous!’, “ Meredith Wheeler tweeted, later adding, “Ask yourself, would you have said President Bush smiled like a split watermelon!? Really shameful. The truth will out.”

Accusations of Frei using a racial slur surfaced as the reporter was put on the spot with those wondering why he would even go there.

“Dear @MattFrei why would you use the offensive ‘smile like a split watermelon’ when referring to any black man, let alone Obama?” Susie M. wrote

To hear Matt Frei’s “split watermelon” remark, click the player below:

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Why does he still have a job, and why has this company, not come out and publicly denounced this kind of Bigotry.

  2. “Joe Wilson” STARTED this whole fkd up “snowball”, & rolled it down the hill, it has KEPT growing & rollin on. Just goes to show Exibit A….how far something…ANYthing can go, when un-countered, or un-addressed! Exibit B?…..”HITLER”!!!!

  3. And BTW….”this” being said withOUT merit & withOUT ANY “retaliatory” action against Our “POTUS”!!!! So now I ask?….”WTF did all the “PATRIOTISM” do??!!! MuthaFK this WB!!!

  4. Honestly. People just need to stop talking. Otherwise, your ass is going to get jumped by somebody, for something, matter what you say. Stop apologizing. Say what you want and keep it moving. The vultures will be circling another carcass tomorrow. Damned! Stop sniveling.

  5. This racist and very offensive. Matt Frei is American, he knows what this means to us. Good bye channel 4, forever!! I will be sending this on my Instagram for channel 4 reviews. Matt Frei you wet white pig!!

    • Thats rubbish that you’ve just made up. He’s no more American than I am. He was born of German parents in Essen, Germany in 1951 and moved to the UK with his family when he was 10. He was educated here and lives here still. He has a British passport.

      ‘Smiling like a split watermelon’ is an odd phrase that I haven’t heard before and wouldn’t have entered my head; it has an odd, awkwardness about it. But if I had heard it said it would never have struck me as racist.

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