BBC Apologises Over Racial Slur Used In News Report


BBC Apologises Over Racial Slur Used In News Report

BBC director general Tony Hall has apologised and said a mistake was made after a news report containing a racial slur was broadcast last month.

More than 18,600 people complained after the N-word was used in full in a report about a racially aggravated attack in Bristol.

The BBC initially defended the use of the slur, broadcast by Points West and the BBC News Channel on 29 July.

Lord Hall said he now accepts the BBC should have taken a different approach.

He said he recognised that the report had caused “distress” amongst many people, and said the BBC would be “strengthening” its guidance on offensive language in its output.

The use of the N-word in the broadcast prompted widespread criticism, including by a number of politicians and BBC staff.

‘Slap in the face’

On Saturday, BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Sideman – real name David Whitely - quit the station over the row.

He said “the action and the defence of the action feels like a slap in the face of our community”.

In its initial defence, the BBC said that the organisation felt it needed “to explain, and report, not just the injuries but, given their alleged extreme nature, the words alleged to have been used” in the attack on an NHS worker known as K-Dogg.

The decision had been supported by the victim’s family, the corporation added.

What wasn’t clear when this story was first reported was the alleged racial motive.

The decision to include the “racist language, in full” – according to a statement on the BBC’s complaints website – was, it’s said, because his family wanted it to be “seen and understood” by the wider public.

The response – more than 18,000 complaints in a matter of days – makes it clear many people thought this was not just wrong, but insulting and deeply distressing. When Radio 1Xtra’s Sideman resigned saying “the BBC sanctioning the N-word being broadcast on national television by a white person is something I can’t rock with”, he was echoing the views of large parts of the audience, and also many within the BBC.

Ben Stokes Inspires Home Fightback

The corporation has, in recent months, had to reverse a decision censuring BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty for her comments about Donald Trump’s tweet suggesting four female politicians of colour should “go back” to “places from which they came”. And there has been considerable internal debate raised by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Broadcasting a racial slur on the news was, they now accept, a “mistake”, but this is about more than just one highly offensive word. As today’s statement says, the BBC is, at the moment, having to “listen – and also to learn” when it comes to race.

BBC Apologises Over Racial Slur Used In News Report


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