Rachel Riley: People are really grateful I've spoken out in anti-Semitism row

The TV star has said she would see ‘anti-Jewish stuff' in the press and ‘coming into conversations' with others.

Countdown star Rachel Riley has said she has received messages of gratitude for her involvement in the Labour Party anti-Semitism row alongside alleged abusive messages.

The TV presenter and maths whizz, whose mother is Jewish, has been outspoken in her criticisms of leader Jeremy Corbyn amid the ongoing controversy.

Last month, she threatened legal action against Twitter users who allegedly targeted her with abuse and harassment, but she has said that by speaking out and getting attention she is able to meet people who are “really suffering”.

The 33-year-old told ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show that initially her speaking out was “kind of accidental and snowballed exponentially”.

She said: “I am Jewish as far as my mum is Jewish. I’m proud of my heritage, I’m an atheist Jew so I’m not practising, I don’t believe anything.

The Jonathan Ross Show
The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV)

“I’m not political. I’m interested so I follow the news and I follow everything that’s happening in America and I’m concerned at the state of the world, but I wasn’t political.

“I just noticed this creeping anti-Jewish stuff going into the press and coming into conversations with people, friends, and I just thought it was weird.”

She said it took “one tweet” for the “amount of abuse” she then received, adding that people were saying to her: “You’re being paid by someone, what’s your agenda? Who is making you say this? It’s a lie? You’re just trying to smear, it isn’t really happening.”

Riley said that, as well as the alleged abuse, she has also been sent positive messages from people thanking her for speaking out.

“At the same time as I got all of this abuse, which was shocking, I got all these people coming forward really grateful that I’d said anything because they’d been doing this, shouting into the ether for three years and the more I did a couple of tweets, the more abuse you get, the more attention you get and the more stories you get and the more people you meet who are really suffering.”

Mr Corbyn has strongly denied allegations of anti-Semitism during the controversy that has ripped through his party.

Riley also told the programme’s host that her mother and her partner Pasha Kovalev’s mother, who is Russian and speaks no English, bond over watching cat videos due to the language barrier.

Riley, who has been dating the former Strictly Come Dancing professional since 2014, said: “We’ve had them together on holiday and the mums just get together and they just look at cat videos on YouTube.

“The universal language of cat videos.”

Riley appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show alongside Ralph Fiennes, Jack Whitehall and singer Lizzo, as well as Crufts 2019 winner Dylan the Villain.

The Jonathan Ross Show airs on ITV on Saturday March 16 at 9.30pm.

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