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Black and LGBTQ Edinburgh students targeted with racist, anti-gay abuse in Zoom meeting

One guest speaker was reduced to tears as the event was interrupted by racist slurs and pornography

2021-02-18

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: Twitter/Edinburgh University

Black and LGBTQ students from the University of Edinburgh were targeted with racist and homophobic abuse during a Zoom event this week.

The digital meeting, hosted by the UoE African Caribbean Society, was also interrupted by pornography, reports the BBC.

There were 50 people on the call, which was not password protected. One guest speaker was reportedly reduced to tears.

"The attackers re-joined multiple times"

One of the hosts told the BBC that the event had almost finished when the abuse started. "And when we said we would start taking questions from the floor, that's when it all started," they added.

One audience member told how "horrific" pornography featuring Black individuals was broadcast, adding: "Even after being kicked out of the event, the attackers re-joined multiple times, through links that had been shared with students at the university."

Attackers also shouted "white power" and sent racist and anti-gay messages via the Zoom chat function, they said.

In an Instagram statement, the UoE African Caribbean Society said: "We strongly condemn their actions and this attack only proved the necessity of these discussions. We maintain a zero-tolerance on any form of discrimination and this was a horrible occurrence that should never be repeated. This crime will be reported to higher authorities and action will be taken."

 
 
 
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The University of Edinburgh said in a statement: “We were horrified to hear that our students had suffered this kind of abuse. The University of Edinburgh is committed to promoting a positive culture which celebrates difference, challenges prejudice and ensures fairness. The University regards any incident of discrimination as a serious matter.”