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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Emily Atkinson

Eton College apologises after claims visiting schoolgirls were subjected to misogynistic and racial slurs


Eton College has apologised “unreservedly” after a number of its pupils were accused of subjecting a group of girls visiting from a nearby state school to misogynistic language, racial slurs and “booing”.

The prestigious boys’ boarding school, which charges £40,000 a year for a place, said it had launched an investigation into the alleged incident, which took place during a speech given by politician turned GB News pundit Nigel Farage.

An anonymous informant, claiming to be the parent of one of the girls who attended the former Ukip leader’s talk, said the female students were jeered at inside the lecture theatre, with Mr Farage describing the atmosphere as “riotous”.

The Twitter user, identifying themselves only as “Whistleblowing Teacher”, also alleged that some of the male pupils had been excluded from the school for a few days following the incident.

The post reads: “My daughter went to Eton college last week for a lecture by ... Nigel Farage. She and the other small group of state school kids were booed for taking up space In the lecture theatre. There were racial slurs and generally misogynistic comments directed at them.

“Eton have excluded some boys for a few days. Nigel was as expected. Eton boys cheered his worst comments on migrants and covid. An interesting night but my daughter thought it explained a lot about why this country is in the state it is in. Their behaviour was awful.

“The school have had an assembly on it and issued an apology but damage done.”

The college has since apologised “unreservedly” for the “totally unacceptable” behaviour of its students.

A second unnamed Twitter user, who claimed to offer a first-hand account of the incident, said the story had been “blown out of proportion” and amounted to a “complete misrepresentation of the truth”.

Posting on Twitter, they alleged: “The reality is that one or two boys decided to make offensive/misogynistic/racist comments, all of whom were internally sanctioned. From a first-hand account, the main issue was the poor organisation of the event, which led to most of the behavioural issues. Students who had queued hours to attend were kicked out for visiting state schools (who took up over one-fifth of the audience).”

They continued: “Given that a large portion of Eton is international, I’m not sure where claims of racist language come from, since there were certainly none.”

An icon among private schools since its founding in 1440 by King Henry VI, Eton College has educated 18 British prime ministers, as well as prominent authors and artists, and members of royal families from around the world.

The school caters for some 1300 pupils divided into 25 houses, each one overseen by a housemaster chosen from the senior ranks of the staff, who number around 160.

In a statement, Eton College said: “The behaviour of some Eton pupils at a recent talk by Nigel Farage was totally unacceptable and Eton has apologised unreservedly to those affected. Eton demands that all our pupils treat others with decency and respect. That did not happen on this occasion and the school has investigated and sanctioned a number of pupils. The Head Master has addressed all boys to reinforce the school’s expectations.”

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