Rochelle Humes speaks out after 'replacement host' claims for new documentary

Rochelle Humes has spoken out following claims she ‘replaced Candice Brathwaite’ to host a new Channel 4 documentary investigating Black Women and childbirth.

The TV presenter, 31, announced the new documentary will explore statistics in the UK that show Black women die during pregnancy, childbirth and shortly after at four times the rate white women do.

Shortly after Rochelle confirmed the show was a go on social media, Candice shared an Instagram post revealing she was in talks to present what most assumed to be the same documentary.

Channel 4 has since denied this was the case and insisted Rochelle was the ‘only presenter attached to the project’.

Addressing the speculation herself, Rochelle has now confirmed in a statement that she was approached to host the documentary a year ago and drew attention back to the documentary’s sole purpose to raise awareness, as she declared: ‘It’s not about me.’

Rochelle wrote: ‘Hey gang, the situation around the documentary playing out online is [complex] and I know that my response won’t satisfy everyone. That being said, I’m going to speak to the facts and what I know to be true.

‘Firstly, I recognise that I’m contributing to a conversation that many Black women have been central to and fighting for a long time. When taking on this project, it was necessary to the producers and I that the voices of the people who have been directly affected are centred in the storytelling.’

She continued: ‘It’s important to me personally and everyone involved in this documentary that this ongoing issue is brought to the widest possible audience. I want to utilise my platform to add further reach and visibility to this ongoing issue, with the sole intention of creating broader awareness to affect change.

‘I was offered the role as host last year, to go on an exploratory journey through the lens of the audience to ask the question why. To tackle any issue on a national scale, it involves a community of people pulling together to advocate and rally for change as ultimately we all share the same goal.’

Rochelle insisted: ‘This is bigger than me and not about me, I’m just bringing this topic to a wider audience and championing the incredible women that haven’t yet had their voices heard. I want to honour the brave people who have opened up and shared their journeys in the hope that, collectively, we can understand from, learn from and end these needless deaths.’

Rochelle’s statement comes after Channel 4 clarified to that she was the only presenter attached to the documentary.

A spokesperson for the network explained that Candice had been approached to be interviewed for the documentary, but declined to appear.

‘It is completely untrue that Rochelle Humes replaced Candice Brathwaite on this film. Rochelle was the only presenter attached to the project. Candice was approached to be interviewed but declined,’ they said in a statement.

Candice then posted a statement explaining that she was contacted by a different production company about developing a similar documentary and that the show with Rochelle was being developed at the same time and ended up being commissioned first.

She stated on social media: ‘The producer of the show that Rochelle Humes is to present has called me asking to clarify that I was never in the running to present that particular documentary.

‘The producer said that fortunately for him, his show was simply acquired first and these things happen in television. I was also told that I would never have been a front runner for this particular documentary as they prefer their subjects to be removed from the situation so that the element of discovery about an issue is genuine but that there would perhaps be room for another documentary of the same nature after this one has aired.

‘They had asked me to contribute my expertise but I declined as I don’t want my trauma to be mined for a show where I have no control of the narrative. My agent had asked a few weeks ago if there was a possibility I could co-present alongside Rochelle and was told there was not.’ 

Candice added: ‘It had been an ongoing discussion for the last 9 months of the year. I’m not sure what happened. But it’s not meant to be. Although it will always be something I’m passionate about, I have to set my ego aside because it’s not only I who tried to highlight the disturbing data when it came to black women dying in childbirth. It’s a group effort.’

Author Candice has actively been campaigning about issues regarding Black women and childbirth in the UK for many years and she published her book, I Am Not Your Baby Mother, in May last year.

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