Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington says she is all about “inclusivity and diversity” after she earlier refused to clarify her views on immigration.
Harrington was quizzed by Off The Ball’s Shane Hannon about a video she retweeted in October.
The clip featured Dutch writer Eva Vlaardingerbroek claiming without evidence that up to 12 girls had been killed in France by migrants that year.
The Irish boxer retweeted the video to her followers, adding: “Very, very sad. A powerful message from Eva Vlaardingerbroek. Our own leaders need to take a listen to this. She believes this is the 12th girl in France this year who has been killed by an immigrant.. And that’s just France.”
Harrington later deleted the tweet and was asked about her views on OTB AM, where she appeared as a Spar ambassador on Monday.
"I feel right now at this moment that you're trying to hang me out to dry so for that I'll say next question," Harrington said initially.
"That was a post in October so I do feel like you're hanging me out to dry and you know me by now and you know you're going to get the truth off me and that's exactly the truth as it is," she continued. "As I'm sitting here now, I feel like you've brought that up to try and bring up a bit of controversy."
Kellie Harrington discussed her deleted tweet on immigration on #OTBAM. pic.twitter.com/cerleODJNa— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 27, 2023
After much criticism of the interview, Harrington then last night issued a statement.
“Last month, I reposted a tweet of a video from a journalist [whom I did not know at the time] detailing the story of a young girl in France who was kidnapped and murdered. Moved by the horrific circumstances of this story, I reposted a video of this journalist together with a copy of a quote," the statement reads.
“My thoughts at that moment were of that young girl and not any political opinion.
“Having realised the significance of my tweet and the hurt caused to a number of people, I immediately deleted the tweet. I engaged privately with a number of people who were hurt by the tweet and I apologised to them.
“As a sporting role model, I am aware that I need to be mindful of what I do say. I reacted with my emotions and without the facts. How this came across is not reflective of me as a person or my thoughts.
“I did an interview today during which I was caught off guard. I was not prepared for a question unrelated to sport and my response to the question asked was not definitive. I do not want to engage in politically sensitive matters.
“What I want to make clear is, throughout my life, both in boxing & outside boxing, I have been lucky enough to have had many multicultural influences and this continues to shape me as the person I am today and something I am very grateful for. The people closest to me will attest to this.
“Since the interview, I have seen many comments that I feel I should address and make my feelings and thoughts clear. As a sportswoman, I am proud to say I am all about community, inclusivity and diversity.”
A statement following my interview earlier with OTB pic.twitter.com/FGuO3w7Wwe— Kellie Harrington (@Kelly64kg) March 27, 2023