Countdown viewers defend Anne-Marie Imafidon from racists

Countdown viewers defend Anne-Marie Imafidon, the first black woman to present the quiz show, after racist trolls claimed she was given Rachel Riley’s maternity cover ‘to tick boxes’ and vowed to boycott the show

  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, 31, who lives in London, has joined Channel 4 Countdown
  • Mathematician has been targeted by racists threatening to boycott the show
  • Twitter users have defended Anne-Marie while praising her accomplishments 

Countdown viewers have defended the quiz show’s first black presenter after she became the target of racists on social media who claimed Channel 4 selected her because of her skin colour rather than her credentials. 

Anne-Marie Imafidon, 31, who was born in London to Nigerian parents, is temporarily replacing Rachel Riley on Channel 4’s Countdown while the TV presenter takes maternity leave for the birth of her second child.

Mathematician Anne-Marie, who was voted the Most Influential Woman in IT in the UK in 2020, made history as the youngest ever graduate with a Masters degree from Oxford at the age of 19 and passed A-Level computing at just age 11.

She speaks six languages, and worked for banks including Goldman Sachs, before setting up Stemettes, which helps women pursue careers in STEM. 

Despite her accomplishments, viewers have had to defend her from racists claiming she has been given a role on Countdown to ‘tick boxes’.  

Anne-Marie Imafidon, 31, (pictured) who lives in London, is presenting 60 episodes of Channel 4 Countdown, while Rachel Riley is on maternity leave after the birth of her second child

Channel 4 took to Twitter to announce Anne-Marie joining Countdown from Monday 13 December.

Sharing a snap of Anne-Marie on the set of the show, they wrote: ‘TODAYS EPISODE… 

‘The incredible @aimafidon will be joining our Countdown family for 60 episodes

‘Tune in for some funky trainers, amazing hair-dos, show-stopping necklaces & some good old fashioned arithmetic. Monday 13th Dec 2021 – Channel 4 – 2.10pm GMT.’

The post racked up over 300 likes, while a number of separate threads also emerged with people debating the channel’s choice of presenter.

Among the backlash, one person wrote: ‘Something tell me there’s politically progressive motivations behind Rachel Riley’s replacement.’

Another said: ‘That poor woman, must be awful knowing you didn’t get the job because of your intelligence alone but that the main driving factor was your skin colour.’

A third commented: ‘Another programme I flatly refuse to watch. The list just keeps growing.’  

A thread on Twitter announcing Anne-Marie on Countdown was flooded with comments promising to boycott the show 

Dawn Butler MP led the commenters defending Anne-Marie by listing her impressive qualifications, saying: ‘Do you research before assuming something negative based on the colour of a person’s skin.

‘@aimafidon is phenomenal! 2 A-Levels at 11, at 20 Master’s degree in mathematics and computer science from University of Oxford. There’s more but I ain’t got time.’

Another wrote: ‘Not all heroes wear capes. It’s so massive to see incredible women like Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon on a main TV channel. My maths isn’t great but I’ll be tuning in and brushing up my skills. Keep going! We’re all behind you’ 

‘There is so much racist crying over Dr Imafidon being on Countdown, and it would be stupid enough even if it wasn’t for the fact that she is is an actual genius,’ a third said.  

Another added: ‘If you went to state school, you have to be ridiculously talented (like Anne-Marie Imafidon) or incredibly lucky to make it anywhere in public life. Still they’ll give you s***!’ 

An overwhelming number of viewers have shown support for Anne-Marie, while defending her from comments made by racists 

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