Lewis Hamilton addresses backlash of Stevenage 'slums' comment
PUBLISHED: 10:44 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:48 19 December 2018
Lewis Hamilton has posted a video on Instagram to the people of Stevenage addressing comments he made during a speech at Sunday's BBC Sports Personality of the Year, where he described the town as 'the slums'.
The five-time Formula 1 world champion, who attended Peartree Primary School and John Henry Newman Catholic School, had been criticised by some after stating that it was a dream of his to get “out of the slums”.
In a video addressing the comment, he said: “I wanted to take a second to send a message to people back in the UK but also to people in Stevenage, where I grew up, somewhere I’m incredible proud of coming from and still love to this day
“So please if you are gaining up any feelings about a mistake that I made on stage, don’t bother with it, throw it to the side, it’s negative energy you don’t need to hold on to.
“I’m super proud of where I’ve come from and I hope that you know that I represent in the best way I can, always.
“Nobody’s perfect, I definitely make mistakes quite often and particularly when you’re up in front of a crowd trying to find the right words to express the long journey that you’ve had in life.
“I chose the wrong words, but I didn’t mean anything by it and those of you who know me know that I always mean love.”
The video has since been removed from the social media platform.
Although Hamilton quickly corrected himself when on stage speaking to presenter Gabby Logan, many took to social media to express their disappointment, including Stevenage council leader Sharon Taylor.
She tweeted: “Disappointing that @LewisHamilton chose to use this event to make negative comments about his home town. Nowhere is perfect but we’ll go high and say we are #ProudofStevenage.”
Also in response, Stevenage’s People for People founder Kenny Arnold penned an open letter to the 33-year-old racing driver calling for him to support those in need in his hometown.
He said: “You have acknowledged this town has its problems... then you are in a wonderful position to help... and encourage others to do so. You were schooled here, you lived here... you know us.”