Mayor of Liverpool calls for Kelvin Mackenzie to be sacked after ‘racist’ column
The Mayor of Liverpool has called for columnist Kelvin MacKenzie to be sacked from the Sun after a controversial column he wrote about an Everton footballer.
Joe Anderson said the column was a "disgrace" and "slur" on the city. He has reported the article to the police for hate speech.
Mr MacKenzie found himself in hot water after he wrote a column criticising Everton footballer Ross Barkley, and has since been suspended.
The midfielder had recently been punched in a Liverpool City Centre bar in the early hours of Monday morning.
He wrote: "Perhaps unfairly, I have always judged Ross Barkley as one of our dimmest footballers.
"There is something about the lack of reflection in his eyes which makes me certain not only are the lights not on, there is definitely nobody at home.
"I get a similar feeling when seeing a gorilla at the zoo. The physique is magnificent but it's the eyes that tell the story.
"So it came as no surprise to me that the Everton star copped a nasty right-hander in a nightclub for allegedly eyeing up an attractive young lady who, as they say, was 'spoken for'.
"The reality is that at £60,000 a week and being both thick and single, he is an attractive catch in the Liverpool area, where the only men with similar pay packets are drug dealers and therefore not at nightclubs, as they are often guests of Her Majesty."
The 23-year-old footballer has a Nigerian grandfather. The mayor of Liverpool accused MacKenzie’s column of containing a racial slur.
Labour councillor Mr Anderson had told BBC Sport: "Not only is it racist in a sense that he is of mixed-race descent, equally it's a racial stereotype of Liverpool. It is racist and prehistoric."
A News UK spokesman said: "The Sun's columnist Kelvin MacKenzie has been suspended from the paper with immediate effect.
"The views expressed by Kelvin Mackenzie about the people of Liverpool were wrong, unfunny and are not the view of the paper.
MacKenzie said he did not know of the footballer's family background and added that it was "beyond parody" for critics to describe his article as "racist".
He said: "I had no idea of Ross Barkley's family background and nor did anybody else. For the mayor of Liverpool and a handful of others to describe the article as racist is beyond parody."