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Rachel Riley forced to apologise after 'misunderstood' tweet on Sydney mall stabbings amid calls for her sacking

The Countdown star shares two daughters with her husband Pasha Kovalev

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Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
April 15, 2024
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Countdown star Rachel Riley has apologised and said she is "sorry" for sharing a tweet about the Sydney shopping mall stabbings.

The TV star, 38, is facing calls to be sacked by Channel 4 after incorrectly suggesting that the fatal attack was linked to a rise in support for Palestine.

Rachel Riley© Getty Images
Rachel Riley penned an apology on X

The horrific event, which took place at a Westfield shopping centre in Bondi Junction on Saturday and killed six people, was carried out by Joel Cauchi, 40.

In a now-deleted post, Rachel wrote: "For six months now, people have been out on our streets proudly calling for the 'Intifada Revolution'. If you want to know what 'Globalised Intifada' looks like, see the Sydney Mall."

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev attend the 2022 Tusk Ball© Getty Images
The TV star is best known for presenting Countdown

She continued: "Five victims stabbed to death and eight transferred to hospital, including a baby, due to one man and a knife.

"In the second intifada over 1,000 Israelis were murdered in restaurants, on buses and in the streets by suicide bombings, stabbings, stoning, lynching, shooting rockets. The youngest victim was just nine hours old. Sydney mall, multiple times over is what they've been proudly calling for."

Rachel Riley wearing rose jumper at premiere © Getty Images
Rachel sparked a reaction with her controversial tweet

Taking to 'X' on Sunday, Rachel penned an apology which read: "Just to clarify, my intention with this tweet was not to say this attack was caused by any ideation or to link it to Islamic extremism. At the time we did not know who the attacker was, and as such I made no reference.

"My aim was to highlight the weekly calls for 'intifada' being tolerated in London and around the world, which in actuality means violence on our streets. For six months now, I have avoided taking the tube, or going with my kids to anywhere near the marches each Saturday, and each week we see the extremist chants on proud display with little outcry.

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"Sadly, the type of attack seen in Sydney yesterday is exactly the kind of violence the previous intifada involved and I hope to avoid in future, but in my opinion ignoring the problem won't make it go away.

"Attacks on Jews have recently become repackaged as 'resistance' in some circles, and we should in one voice condemn all acts of violence, whoever the perpetrators and whoever the victims. I am sorry if this message was misunderstood, that was not my intention."

Meanwhile, in a follow-up message, the former Strictly Come Dancing star added: "I've thought about this all day and deleted the original tweet, so just one more post on the matter. I'm sorry to those I offended. My post was ambiguous and although it was genuinely designed to call out calls for violence, it wasn't the right place or time which made it easier to misinterpret, and I apologise."

Pasha Kovalev and Rachel Riley pose at gala© Getty Images
Pasha Kovalev and Rachel Riley tied the knot in 2019

In light of Rachel's original tweet, many social media users have called for Channel 4 to take action against the TV star.

Rachel, who is married to Strictly star Pasha Kovalev, frequently speaks out about antisemitism and was awarded an MBE at Windsor Castle in 2023 for her work in raising awareness of the Holocaust and combating antisemitism.

HELLO! have reached out to Channel 4 for comment.

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