F1 ace Lewis Hamilton faces backlash on Twitter after calling his hometown of Stevenage a 'slum'
On December 16, Hamilton appeared on stage at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and said that it was a dream for his family to 'get out of the slums'
Formula 1 ace Lewis Hamilton is being slammed on social media after he referred to his hometown of Stevenage as a "slum". On December 16, Hamilton appeared on stage at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and said that it was a dream for his family to "get out of the slums" before he quickly backtracked and said: "Well, not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something".
The town of Stevenage has around 80,000 residents and is located close to Welwyn Garden City. It also has a 14th-Century church, an arts center, a gallery, a museum, and a large pharmaceutical laboratory that is owned by GlaxoSmithKline.
The Daily Mail reported that the inhabitants of the so-called "slum" are less than happy with Hamilton and have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts. The leader of the Stevenage Borough Council said that the ace driver's comments were "disappointing" and many people felt "very offended".
The 33-year-old Formula 1 driver has been slammed on social media for his comments but also got support from some of his fans. The five-time world champion was one of the six finalists for the Sports Personality of the Year title which was won by Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.
During his interaction with Gabby Logan, the presenter, Hamilton said: "It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums. Well, not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something. We all set our goals very, very high but we did it as a team."
Residents of the small town have been thrown to opposing sides of the debate but Twitter users agree that the remarks were not impressive. One user furiously wrote: "Lewis Hamilton said Stevenage is a slum — unbelievable, but then I suppose it is compared to Monaco!!," referencing Hamilton's current home.
Another user said: "Lewis Hamilton describing Stevenage as a slum [laughing emoji]. What an absolute toolbag." Yet another user wrote: "Lewis Hamilton has just insulted EVERYONE in his hometown of Stevenage!! It is NOT a 'SLUM' you t***!!"
"It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums.”— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 18, 2018
Lewis Hamilton has come in for criticism in his home town.
Read: https://t.co/3gwa8QslFK pic.twitter.com/030vLzcdUt
A couple of other tweets read: "@LewisHamilton Are you for real?! Get your head out of your own a***! Slums?! I've lost a lot of respect for you. Everyone knows that's not true. #Stevenage #Hometown #SPOTY." or "Lewis Hamilton talking last night on #SPOTY2018 saying how it's been a long journey from the Stevenage slums… What a ridiculous thing to say, I mean when he was in these slums I wonder how far he had to walk each day for water… Oh yeah the tap… #wally."
There were others, however, who defended the driver's description of his hometown saying: "Proud of Stevenage? What a dive. Let me ask you Sharon, would you walk through the town centre past 10 pm on your own? I think not, I think not!" and "Personally I don't find @LewisHamilton calling Stevenage a slum offensive at all, have you walked through town after a Saturday night?"
Sharon Taylor, the Stevenage Borough Council leader, said: "It is disappointing that Lewis Hamilton referred to Stevenage as 'the slums' at such a high-profile event. He clearly realized what he had said and tried to correct it but sadly the people of our town, many of whom admire and support him, felt very offended."