George Eaton (journalist)
George Eaton (born 27 November 1986) is a British writer and journalist. He is an assistant editor of the New Statesman, a position he has held since May 2019. He was previously political editor from 2014 to 2018 and then joint deputy editor from December 2018 before his demotion the following year.
After working for PoliticsHome, he was recruited to the New Statesman in 2009 by editor Jason Cowley as a staff writer and later edited the magazine's political blog The Staggers, which was named online comment site of the year at the 2013 Comment Awards.
Eaton has featured in debating panels on various news stations such as BBC News, Sky News and RT, discussing issues including health tourism and Scottish independence. In February 2015, he sat on a panel hosted by the PR company Fishburn at the Royal Society of Arts on the 2015 general election.
Roger Scruton controversyEdit
In the 12–17 April 2019 edition of The New Statesman, Eaton published an article based on an interview he had had with conservative philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, in which he claimed Scruton had made a number of racist remarks. He quoted Scruton as describing the "invasion of huge tribes of Muslims from the Middle East", and how "each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one". The article led to Scruton being removed as a government adviser. Figures such as Brendan O'Neill, Kenan Malik, Jonathan Rutherford, Douglas Murray, Niall Ferguson, and Toby Young criticised Eaton, claiming he had mischaracterised Scruton's comments. Eaton received particular criticism for posting a photograph to his public Instagram account showing him drinking from a bottle of champagne with the caption, "The feeling when you get right-wing racist and homophobe Roger Scruton sacked."
In a subsequent article with further clarification of Scruton's comments Eaton apologised for his "social media conduct", describing it as a "serious error of judgement", while standing by "the accuracy of my interview" and claiming accusations of misrepresentation were "untrue and baseless". As of July 2019, access to this article had been removed from the website.
As of 2 May 2019, Peter Wilby, writing in The New Statesman offered a partial and tentative apology to Scruton for the mischaracterisation of his remarks as reported in the article on him by Eaton which it had earlier published, adding that the latter's conduct was still under review by the magazine. On 23 May 2019, Eaton was removed from his position at The New Statesman, and demoted to assistant editor at the magazine. On 8 July 2019, The New Statesman and Scruton published a joint statement providing fuller context for the quotes, along with the magazine's conclusion regarding tweets sent to promote the article: "We acknowledge that the views of Professor Scruton were not accurately represented in the tweets to his disadvantage. We apologise for this, and regret any distress that this has caused Sir Roger." On 23 July 2019, Roger Scruton was reappointed to the government commission on Boris Johnson's first day as Prime Minister.
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