BBC not impartial on racism, senior bosses say

Image caption

Munchetty has been a presenter on BBC Breakfast for the last 10 years

The BBC has said it is not impartial on racism, after a backlash over its decision to uphold a complaint against Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty.

An email from senior management to all staff said: “Racism is not an opinion and it is not a matter for debate. Racism is racism.”

It said the part of the complaint about her comments on racism was rejected.

Earlier, dozens of black actors and broadcasters called on the BBC to overturn its decision.

On Wednesday, host Munchetty was found to have breached guidelines by criticising US President Donald Trump’s motives after he said four female politicians should “go back” to “places from which they came”.

The corporation said its editorial guidelines “do not allow for journalists to… give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so – in this case President Trump”.

‘We admire her for it’

The email from the BBC’s Executive Committee – which includes director general Tony Hall and director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth – tells staff: “You will have heard a lot of comment over the past few days about the BBC and the reporting of racism.

“The BBC is not impartial on racism. Racism is not an opinion and it is not a matter for debate. Racism is racism.

“Naga Munchetty – one of our stars – was completely within her rights to speak about the tweets of Donald Trump which have been widely condemned as racist.

“We completely back her in saying “as a woman of colour, to go back where I came from, that was embedded in racism”.

“She was speaking honestly and from the heart about her own experiences. We admire her for it and she was completely justified in doing so.

“The very limited finding was not about Naga’s comments on racism. That part of the complaint was rejected.”

The email added: “Diversity matters hugely. The success of the BBC is built on the quality and diversity of our people. That is not negotiable.”

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