BBC receives 18,600 complaints for use of racial slurs in report


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The BBC has received over 18,600 complaints about the use of racial slurs in a TV report.

The N word was used in a report about a racist attack in Bristol, broadcast by Points West and the BBC News Channel last week.

The company has since defended the use of the word, but admitted it offends.

Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, said it had received 384 complaints about the report.

In its bimonthly bulletin, the BBC said it had received 18,656 complaints about the incident on Sunday August 2.

This makes it the second most reported incident since the BBC started using its current system in 2017. Only Newsnight’s opening monologue on Dominic Cummings in May received more, with 23,674.

Prior to 2017, Jerry Springer: The Opera received the most complaints of any BBC show, with 63,000.

“Context is important”

The report, which airs Wednesday, July 29, describes an attack on a 21-year-old NHS worker and musician known as K or K-Dogg.

He had been hit by a car on July 22 on his way to a bus stop from his place of work, Bristol’s Southmead Hospital. He suffered serious injuries, including a broken leg, nose and cheekbone.

Police said the incident was treated as racially aggravated because of the racist language used by the occupants of the car.

A fourth man was arrested on Tuesday for attempted murder.

  • BBC defends use of racial slurs in report

In its response to complaints about the use of the N word, the BBC said: “The victim’s family was anxious for the incident to be seen and understood by the general public.

“It is for this reason that they specifically asked us to show photos of this man’s injuries and were also determined to report the racist language, in its entirety, allegedly spoken by the occupants of the car. ”

He added: “These are difficult judgments, but the context is very important in this particular case. We believe we have given adequate warnings that upsetting imagery and language would be used and we will continue to continue this story.

“The word is very offensive and we fully accept and understand why people have been upset by its use. The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without careful and careful thought: we were aware that it would offend. “


Lucy Worsley apologized for using the N word in a 2019 episode of Britain’s Biggest Fibs

The BBC also received 417 other complaints about a separate use of the word during a history program.

Presenter and historian Lucy Worsley apologized on Sunday after citing the N word on her BBC show American History’s Biggest Fibs.

The show first aired on BBC Four in 2019, but was repeated on BBC Two over the weekend.

After the rehearsal was broadcast, a Twitter user reached out to Worsley to criticize her for using the N word.

Responding to him, Worsley said, “You’re right, that was not acceptable and I apologize. ”

The complaints come against a backdrop of constant concern and scrutiny of how the media and entertainment industry deals with race issues.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year, sparked by the death of George Floyd in custody, several TV and movie stars have apologized for their earlier use of black or racially callous language.


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