Dominic Raab has faced backlash over comments he made about the Black Lives Matter movement in which he compared ‘taking the knee’ to ‘subjugation’, while thinking it originated from a TV show.
The foreign secretary told talkRADIO listeners he thought the gesture came from the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones, before saying it reminded him of a ‘symbol of…subordination’.
‘I’ve got to say on this taking the knee thing – I don’t know maybe its got a broader history but it seems to me to be taken from the Game of Thrones – feels to me like a symbol of subjugation and subordination rather than one of liberation and emancipation,’ he said.
Raab remarked that he would only ‘take the knee’ for ‘the Queen’ and ‘the Mrs when I asked her to marry me’.
The action is performed by rulers of their rivals in Game of Thrones but its origins are actually from US NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who declined to stand for the national anthem before a match in 2016.
The senior minister’s comments have sparked anger online.
Piers Morgan called the comments ‘unbelievable’. ‘Foreign secretary @DominicRaab thinks taking the knee is from Game of Thrones. This government continues to shame us to the world.’
The Times journalist Harriet Marsden wrote: ‘I’m just gonna say it: I would never take a knee for Dominic Raab.’
Sam Whyte joked: ‘Dominic Rabb thinks taking the knee is a Game of Thrones reference? Does he think the black power salute originated in Star Trek?’
Sheri B called the secretary’s performance ‘breathtakingly piss poor’.
Politicians also vented their disappointment with the Raab. Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott wrote: ”Taking the knee’ began in 2016 with American athletes refusing to stand for US national anthem. They were protesting police brutality and racism. But @dominicrabb thinks it comes from the Game of Thrones!!!’
Liberal Democrats leadership contender Ed Davey posted: ‘The fact our Foreign secretary, who is also now going to be in charge of our aid budget, is totally ignorant about a global movement against racism is as shocking as it is concerning.’
Raab has since tried to diffuse the situation, tweeting: ‘To be clear: I have full respect for the Black Lives Matter movement, and the issues driving them. If people wish to take a knee, that’s their choice and I respect it. We all need to come together to tackle any discrimination and social injustice.’