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.
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.”
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.”
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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