Critics slam Bloomberg News for calling Winston Churchill 'racist,' questioning how he should be viewed today

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Bloomberg News became the focus of intense criticism Monday following a tweet in which it referred to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as “racist,” and questioned how he should be viewed through modern standards. 

“Churchill helped lead the free world through war. He was also racist. How should we consider him today?” tweeted Bloomberg Opinion with a link to a piece written by columnist and historical author Max Hastings. 

In contrast to the tweet, Hasting’s piece sought to strike a balance between the “woke” campaigners calling for Churchill’s statue in London’s Parliament Square to be removed and those seeking to elevate his memory. 

Hastings noted that, while Churchill expressed negative racial attitudes towards Indians and Africans at various points in his leadership, he also showed “compassion” in instances of life or death, such as after one 19th-century battle in Sudan in which 13,000 Africans were either killed or left to die on the battlefield following a British victory.

From l-r: Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, King George VI, and Princess Margaret of Great Britain wave to crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during VE Day celebrations on May 8, 1945.

Hastings wrote that no politician should aspire “to enfold himself in the mantle of Churchill,” but that none of the criticism against him should diminish gratitude for the work he did for the British people. 

“I acknowledge Churchill’s colossal faults but view them alongside his colossal virtues. Why is it so difficult for others to accept that the middle ground is where truth lies about most things in life?” Hastings wrote. “We must judge every man and woman by the standards of their times, not those of our own.”

Critics took to social media to blast the tweet, with some also dismissing the idea that historical figures should be viewed through a modern lens, and others simply referring to Churchill as a hero.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1874-1965) steps into his car at the rear of Downing Street on his way to hand in his resignation to King George VI on July 26, 1945.  (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“The silliest thing is to compare historical figures and judge them according to contemporary standards outright. I may accept relative comparisons but not absolute statements like this,” one critic wrote. 

Adolf Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun pose in Berchtesgaden, Germany.
(AP Photo, File)

Other critics of the piece compared Churchill to former German leader Adolf Hitler, pointing out that the former helped to defeat the “worse racist.” 

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