Presenter quits after BBC defends use of N-word in report | Media

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A BBC radio presenter quit his job after the company defended its decision to broadcast the N-word on a newscast.Radio 1Xtra presenter Sideman said he no longer felt comfortable working for the national broadcaster after it stuck with the decision to broadcast the language in a report on a crime attack of racist motivation.

The presenter, who had a weekly show on BBC 1Xtra, said he could not work with the BBC by allowing “the N word to be said on national television by a white person”.

He said in an Instagram post that the BBC’s subsequent defense of the show “feels like a slap in the face to our community.”

“On this occasion, I just don’t think I can look away. We live in a world that needs to change, systems that need to change, organizations that need to change. ”

More than 18,000 people have already complained to the BBC about the decision to broadcast the word last month in a report originally broadcast on the regional service Points West before being rebroadcast on the main BBC News channel.

The report, written by BBC social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin, repeated language that was allegedly shouted during the attack on a young black man in Bristol. The BBC defended his decision, saying the inclusion of the racial insult was made with the approval of the victim and his family, who wanted to show the seriousness of the attack. They said the decision to air the word followed discussions involving “senior editorial officials” and was preceded by a warning to viewers.

Sideman, the professional name of comedian and presenter David Whately, said he didn’t feel able to continue working with the BBC and suggested the response showed deeper issues with the broadcaster. “As someone who believes that change can happen and wants change to happen, I understand transition. I understand that this is not something that will happen overnight. It will take a lot to learn, unlearn and demolish certain constitutive elements of society that have been slow to form. I agree with the process, I agree to wait with reason for some things to change.

“It’s an error in judgment where I can’t just smile with you all the way through and act like everything is fine. I am happy to work with organizations until we are all right. But it is more than being wrong.

“This is why I am immediately leaving my job as a radio broadcaster for BBC 1Xtra. Without any excuse, I just don’t feel comfortable being aligned with the organization.

“The money and the opportunity don’t outweigh the dissatisfaction I feel about this situation. It’s crazy to me, especially in today’s social climate, and I can’t make sense of it no matter how hard I think about it. So I think it’s time for me to go.

A spokesperson for 1Xtra said: “Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. We are obviously disappointed that he made this decision. We wish him absolutely good luck for the future. The door is always open for future projects. ”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC has provided the background to the report on the shocking attack on an NHS employee in Bristol. As we said, 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 made lightly and without careful thought: we knew it would offend.

“But, in this specific context, we felt the need to explain and report, not only the injuries, but, given their allegedly extreme nature, the words that would have been used – a position which, as we do. said, was supported by the family and the victim. “

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