Singer Sam Smith has tweeted of his shock after witnessing a friend being racially abused on the streets of London. However the singer himself has also come under fire, with many being confused as to how he could be surprised that racism still exists today in Britain.

Sam SmithSam Smith has tweeted his shock after his friend was racially abused in London.

‘Just experienced my friend getting verbally abused racially in London. I am absolutely SPEECHLESS,’ Smith tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning. ‘I never ever ever ever thought that would happen here. Absolutely speechless and hurt.’

‘I feel like I have to shine some sort of light on it. The police were so unhelpful in the situation and its deeply shocked me. Humans are HUMANS. I feel like I have to say something. I'm just so upset. So UPSET. I just got home and Nina Simone is on the radio - fitting.’

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But some have criticised the singer for not being aware that racism does still exist in modern Britain. ‘Why are people surprised that Sam Smith is only discovering racism exists? He's white. He wouldn't even know what racism feels like,’ one user wrote.

Another added, ‘Sam Smith is surprised racism exists in the UK. Unrelated: he won best male, R&B act, song and album at 2014 MOBOs.’ Other users made reference to Smith’s ‘white privilege’: ‘Sam Smith so deep in his white privilege he's "absolutely speechless" and "hurt" and "deeply shocked" by his friend getting racially abused.’

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However anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card have praised Smith for trying to bring awareness to the issue. ‘Sam Smith's tweets today show the impact that racist abuse can have," Gavin Sutherland, campaign coordinator, told BBC Newsbeat.

‘To witness it or experience it is shocking and it's good that he is highlighting this experience to his many followers. It's also true that racist incidents occur every day and it needs to be educated against to prevent it. I am sure that he is aware of that and was reacting in shock to a personal experience; it seems silly to criticise someone for that.’