Who is GB News presenter Darren Grimes and why do people think he’s a ‘hateful s**te’?

Darren Grimes

GB News presenter Darren Grimes has been the subject of much speculation this week over his role at the right-wing broadcaster – after suggestions that he no longer had one.

Grimes deleted all of his tweets, set a password on his website, and disappeared from his GB News show Real Talk, before announcing he had returned from “holiday” and would be back on screens.

But who is the gay, right-wing commentator, who once said he would “happily give his life for the freedom for you to be able to articulate your case as to why you think he’s a hateful s***e”?

Darren Grimes tweeted his bemusement at why LGBT+ people "need" a Pride Month. (Screen capture via Twitter)

Darren Grimes tweeted his bemusement at why LGBT+ people “need” a Pride Month. (Screen capture via Twitter)

Darren Grimes is from County Durham, and studied fashion and business at the University of Brighton, later dropping out before finishing his degree.

While at university he joined the Liberal Democrats and spoke in favour of the UK remaining in the European Union, but swiftly changed his tune.

Within a year, he had joined the Conservative Party and launched a pro-Brexit youth group named BeLeave.

In 2018, the Electoral Commission fined Grimes £20,000 and the official Leave campaign Vote Leave £61,000, saying the latter had funnelled £675,315 through BeLeave to get around a spending limit of £7 million.

Grimes, who denied any wrongdoing, won an appeal against his fine, with a judge ruling the Commission had set too high a threshold for determining whether BeLeave was a genuine organisation for the purposes of electoral law.

Right-wing pundit Darren Grimes

Right-wing pundit Darren Grimes

Grimes gradually gained favour in the UK’s right-wing and far-right spheres, and in 2019 he promoted the launch of Turning Point UK, the British version of the pro-Trump youth organisation Turning Point USA.

Turning Point UK, once described by Labour MP David Lammy as evidence that “sinister forces are taking hold of our country”, was launched in 2019 by Q Anon conspiracy theorist John Mappin, a Scientologist who previously handed out discounts at his hotel to anti-vaxxer guests.

Upon launch, Turning Point UK received endorsements from Priti Patel, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nigel Farage, but has since held little sway, with a recent petition receiving just 400 signatures.

Helping conservative youth ‘come out of the political closet’

Not to be deterred, in 2020 Darren Grimes launched his own right-wing youth organisation called Reasoned.

Despite Grimes’ claim that Reasoned “provides a mix of entertaining and informative content” which helps young people “reach their own informed opinions on a range of political and current affairs topics”, the videos produced by the organisation almost exclusively have titles like “BLM are still clueless”, and “Net Zero is a national disaster”.

Launching the website, Grimes called on those who “hide their political views for fear of being called homophobic, a TERF, racist”, to “come out of the closet” and join him.

This year, Reasoned will hold its first “student summit”, an event for people aged 16 to 30 who can pay £12 for the pleasure of watching Grimes himself speak alongside former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who said that Muslim immigrants want to “take us over”, suggested banning people with HIV from moving to the UK and said he would not want to live next-door to Romanians. 

Farage and Grimes will be joined by anti-equal marriage Tory MP Steve Baker, who thinks speaking to children about the climate crisis is “child abuse”, and Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, who is so anti-LGBTQ+ he believes trans people want to “destroy truth itself”, alongside a host of other delightful speakers.

But they will be in good company with Grimes.

David Starkey and Darren Grimes

Darren Grimes (R) conducted the “racist” interview with historian David Starkey (L). (David Levenson/Getty and darrengrimes_/ Twitter)

In 2020, Grimes was investigated on suspicion of stirring up racial hatred after he conducted a horrific “racist” interview with historian David Starkey.

Grimes interviewed Starkey in a video for the Reasoned YouTube channel, in which Starkey said: “Slavery was not genocide, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many damn Blacks in Africa or in Britain, would there?”

Grimes went on to claim that he hadn’t challenged Starkey because he hadn’t “caught” the comment, tweeting: “I reject in the strongest possible terms what Dr Starkey said in that clip and so very wish I’d caught it at the time. I am still learning the ropes, I will be much more alert to challenging this kind of thing in future.”

Grimes was investigated by the Metropolitan Police, but no charges were brought.