BBC director apologizes after facing backlash over reporter’s use of n-word : TheGrio

Director General of the BBC Tony Hall speaks to delegates during day two of the Global Conference on Press Freedom on July 11, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A BBC reporter’s description of an alleged racial incident has prompted the network’s director general to issue an apology. 

The reporter, Fiona Lamdin, used the n-word in a regional story that later aired on the national British Broadcast Company network.

READ MORE: Black radio host exits BBC after station allows reporter to use n-word in a news report

During the report, which aired on July 28, she said, “Just to warn you, you’re about to hear highly offensive language because as the men ran away they hurled racial abuse, calling him a ‘n*****.’” 

The report was about a healthcare worker who was hit by a car, and the BBC initially said that the victim’s family wanted to “see the full facts made public.” The network stated that “the decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offense.”

General Views of BBC Broadcasting House
The logo for the Broadcasting House, the headquarters of the BBC is displayed outside.
(Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

However, after public backlash including over 18,000 complaints, BBC director-general Tony Hall has apologized. 

According to Deadline, Hall wrote, “It should be clear that the BBC’s intention was to highlight an alleged racist attack. This is important journalism which the BBC should be reporting on and we will continue to do so.”

“Yet despite these good intentions, I recognize that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people. The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that. We will now be strengthening our guidance on offensive language across our output.”

READ MORE: Michigan official resists calls to resign over repeated use of n-word

Hall added that it is important for the network to listen and to learn. 

A Black BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ, David “Sideman” Whitley, resigned from the network after their initial decision to defend the use of the word on air. Sideman posted a statement about his resignation on Twitter.

“We live in a world that needs to change, systems that need to change.” He said that change does not happen overnight. He said that the error in judgment “feels like a slap in the face of our community.”

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