Alastair Stewart steps down as ITV News presenter over 'misuse of social media'

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 10:42 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 2:29 pm
Alastair Stewart has stepped down as an ITV presenter after 40 years of service (ITN)

ITV newsreader Alastair Stewart is stepping down from presenting duties following, what ITN referred to as, "errors of judgement in Alastair's use of social media".

In a statement, the veteran broadcaster, said "it was a misjudgement which I regret".

ITN and Stewart agreed that the timing was right for the 67-year-old to step back from duties after he "breached" the broadcaster's editorial guidelines.

Social media misuse

Neither Stewart, nor ITN explicitly revealed the exact social media posts which led to his resignation.

In the aftermath of the news, however, Twitter users resurfaced a tweet which the presenter had made on January 13 in which he appeared to compare a black man to an "angry ape".

Stewart quoted Shakespeare in a tweet directed at fellow social media user Martin Shapland.

The offending message read: “But man, proud man, Dress’d in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d – His glassy essence – like an angry ape.”

Shapland reacted to the tweet, saying: "Just an @itv newsreader referring to me as an ape with the cover of Shakespeare. ‘Measure for measure, Alistair [sic] is a disgrace".

Alastair Stewart has since deleted his Twitter profile.

'A misjudgement which I regret'

In a statement, Stewart revealed regret at his social media use.

He wrote: "It was a misjudgement which I regret, but it's been a privilege to bring the news to households throughout the UK for the past 40 years."

ITN's chief executive Anna Mallett thanked the presenter, stating: "We would like to recognise Alastair's contribution as one of the UK's foremost journalists and TV presenters and to thank him for his commitment to delivering high-quality broadcast news over many years."

Michael Jermey, ITV director of news and current affairs, added: "Alastair has been a long-standing, familiar figure to viewers of ITV News, both reporting and presenting with distinction. We wish him the very best for the future."

Stewart was named presenter of the year by the Royal Television Society Award in 2005, and was awarded an OBE the following year.

He also hosted a party leaders debate at the 2010 general election between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.