'You have very good English for a Nigerian girl': RTÉ journalist, 23, subjected to racism

'You have very good English for a Nigerian girl': RTÉ journalist, 23, subjected to racism
RTÉ journalist Zainab Boladale

An RTÉ journalist has opened up about the racial abuse she has received both online and in real life.

Zainab Boladale, 23, started working in RTÉ in 2017 as a presenter for news2day and currently works with Nationwide.

Ms Boladale is a fluent Irish speaker and comes from Clare, having moved to Ennis when she was four.

Over the weekend, she took to Twitter to highlight some of the racism directed at her online.

"For months and months, a YouTube channel constantly compiled videos of me from my account/social/TV etc," she wrote.

"When I used to write articles they’d post it on racist forums - Talking about racism when you’re a POC [person of colour] is tiring because the experience feels overwhelming.

"After months of reporting the channel - YouTube finally took it down (I’m guessing others featured on that channel complained too)."

Attaching screeshots, the comments on the videos contained racist and insulting language.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Ms Boladale said she spoke up "out of frustration".

"I think I was just felt really fed up," she said.

"And there was just a lot out there in the media about the questions about racism, whether or not Ireland was racist."

She said she felt "irritated that we were still having this conversation, because I felt like we're constantly having the conversation about what is racist and what isn't.

"It's clear what is and what isn't."

Ms Boladale also highlighted that she also experienced racism in real life while working on a story about Direct Provision.

"I was out recently on a report and someone stopped me in a field," she said.

"I was in the midlands and someone stopped me and was questioning whether or not...I think they had thought that I was someone from Direct Provision."

Ms Boladale said the person asked where she was from. When she replied "Clare" the person laughed and asked again.

"Then he asked a third time and I got that he wanted to know where I'm 'originally from'."

When she said Nigeria, Ms Boladale said the person replied saying "You have very good English for a Nigerian girl.

She said the man laughed "condescendingly" when she told him she was an RTÉ reporter.

Ms Boladale said the incident "put a downer" on her day adding that it was tough "when you're trying to do your job and you have these things thrown at you."

Jon Williams, Managing Director of RTÉ News and Current Affairs, said in a statement:

"All of us in RTÉ are disgusted that anyone should have to put up with such vile behaviour.

"Zainab's grace and dignity stands in sharp contrast to the cowardice of the bullies who've abused her.

"Sadly harassment of journalists is nothing new. But we expect the social media companies to act quickly and decisively to protect victims.

"All of her RTÉ family stand with Zainab and abhor any kind of racism."

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