LONDON — An adviser hired by the U.K. government last week as part of a push to increase the number of “weirdos and misfits” in Downing Street has resigned following outcry over racist comments he allegedly made online.
Andrew Sabisky, who was given a job as a “contractor” to No. 10 Downing Street, tweeted Monday night that he had decided to step down from his post.
The 27-year-old had been hired following a job ad posted by Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, calling for “weirdos and misfits” to apply to work in No. 10. Cummings explained on his blog that he wanted to hire people who wouldn’t normally be attracted to politics to increase the “cognitive diversity” in government.
But Sabisky quickly came under fire after journalists unearthed a series of online comments he had allegedly made. They included statements that black Americans had a lower IQ than white Americans and that compulsory contraception should be in place to prevent a “permanent underclass.” The latter comment was posted below one of Cummings’ own blog posts in 2014.
Critics also pointed out comments Sabisky made in a 2016 interview, where he suggested children should be given mind-enhancing drugs to improve their education. “From a societal perspective the benefits of giving everyone [anti-sleep drug] modafinil once a week are probably worth a dead kid once a year,” he told SchoolsWeek in 2014.
“The media hysteria about my old stuff online is mad but I wanted to help [the government] not be a distraction,” Sabisky tweeted Monday. “Accordingly I’ve decided to resign as a contractor.”
Earlier Monday, Johnson’s spokesman refused to confirm whether the prime minister disagreed with Sabisky’s views on eugenics and race. “The prime minister’s views are well publicized and documented,” he told a regular briefing of Westminster journalists. He declined to comment specifically on Sabisky’s appointment.
The appointment drew the ire of Conservative MPs including Caroline Nokes, the chair of the House of Commons women and equalities committee, and William Wragg, who said Sabisky’s appointment was “a poor reflection on the government and there is no way to defend it.”
Sabisky had built a reputation as a “superforecaster,” someone who was able to predict the outcome of political events with great accuracy. He tweeted that he hoped the government would continue hiring people with forecasting skills.
Labour Party chair Ian Lavery said it was “right that Andrew Sabisky is no longer working in government. He should never have been appointed in the first place.”