BBC faces backlash after censuring anchor for Trump remarks

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 file photo, President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One after arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. The BBC is facing a backlash after finding one of its presenters in breach of its editorial guidelines on impartiality for comments that were critical of U.S. President Donald Trump. Journalists and celebrities are demanding the BBC overturn its decision, expressing support for BBC Breakfast anchor Naga Munchetty, who was discussing Trump’s remark on July 17 that four female American lawmakers should return to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.’’ (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file)

LONDON — The BBC faced a backlash Friday after finding one of its presenters in breach of its editorial guidelines on impartiality for comments that were critical of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Journalists and celebrities were demanding that the BBC overturn its decision and expressed support for BBC Breakfast anchor Naga Munchetty, who was discussing Trump's remark that four female American lawmakers should return to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Co-anchor, Dan Walker, asked Munchetty for her opinion on the July 17 program, and she responded: "Every time I have been told, as a woman of color, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism .... I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean."

Questioned further by Walker, she said she was "absolutely furious a man in that position thinks it's OK to skirt the lines by using language like that."

The BBC found that Munchetty had gone too far.

"She understandably feels strongly on this issue, and there was nothing wrong with her talking about her own experiences of racism," the BBC said in a statement. "However, our editorial guidelines do not allow for journalists to then give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so — in this case President Trump — and it was for this reason that the complaint was partially upheld. Those judgments are for the audience to make."

Across social media, there was disquiet over the broadcaster's decision. That sentiment was plainly put in a letter to the Guardian newspaper on Friday, in which some 40 locally prominent celebrities offered support to the presenter.

"Racism is not a valid opinion on which an 'impartial' stance can or should be maintained," the signatories said in the letter. "For communities and individuals who experience racist abuse — including Munchetty — being expected to treat racist ideas as potentially valid has devastating and maybe illegal consequences for our dignity and ability to work in a professional environment, as well as being contrary to race equality and human rights legislation."

It added that to "suggest a journalist can 'talk about her own experiences of racism' while withholding a critique on the author of racism (in this case President Trump) has the ludicrous implication that such racism may be legitimate and should be contemplated as such."

Must Read

'Suicide Squad' loses some luster in 2nd...

Aug 14, 2016

"Suicide Squad" isn't looking as bright in weekend two, dropping an estimated 67 percent

Larry Wilmore-hosted 'Nightly Show' axed by...

Aug 15, 2016

Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" is coming to an end

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard settle divorce case

Aug 16, 2016

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard say they have settled their contentious divorce on Tuesday and the...

Rape case from the past casts pallor on 'Birth of...

Aug 17, 2016

Hollywood trade publications are reporting that a woman who accused filmmaker Nate Parker of rape...

Amy Schumer opens book tour for essay collection

Aug 17, 2016

Actress and comedian Amy Schumer has launched the book tour for her collection of very personal...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com