Lenny Henry among 150 BAME TV stars to slam BBC after it rapped Breakfrast host Naga Munchetty for calling Trump’s comments ‘racist’

Lenny Henry among 150 BAME TV stars to slam BBC after it rapped Breakfrast host Naga Munchetty for calling Trump’s comments ‘racist’

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A GROUP of 150 BAME broadcasters, actors and celebrities have slammed the BBC after it launched a complaint against BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty.

Sir Lenny Henry and Kishnan Guru-Murthy are among the group who have signed a letter demanding the BBC to overturn its decision regarding Munchetty after she called Donald Trump’s comments “racist.”

refer to caption.

150 BAME celebrities and journalists have backed Naga Munchetty after she said Trump’s comments are ’embedded with racism’[/caption]

Sir Lenny Henry is one of the signatories of the letter to the BBC demanding the decision to be reversed

Ms Munchetty accused US President Donald Trump’s comments of being “embedded in racism,” which led the BBC to condemn her for going “beyond what the guidelines allowed for,” despite saying she was entitled to “give a personal response.”

However, the BBC has received a letter demanding for a reversal – signed by 150 high-profile TV stars and journalists.

Also among those who signed the letter are actors Adrian Lester and David Harewood, comedian Gina Yashere and Gillian Joseph from SkyNews.

Chancellor Sajid Javid also backed the presenter, calling the decision “ridiculous” and saying that Ms Munchetty’s reaction was “perfectly understandable.”

In July, Donald Trump had tweeted that four female politicians should “go back” to where they came from.

Naga Munchetty then told her co-presenter Dan Walker: “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, 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 Mr 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”.

Who has signed the letter backing Naga Munchetty?

The signitories of the Open Letter to the BBC include:

Sir Lenny Henry – British comedian, actor, singer and TV presenter.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy – British journalist who presents the Channel 4 News.

Adrian Lester – Actor, director and film writer.

Asif Kapadia – British filmmaker and director.

Gillian Joseph – Newscaster for Sky News.

David Harewood – British actor.

Gina Yashere – British comedian.

Marverine Cole – British radio and TV presenter.

Marcus Ryder – Chief Editor of CGTN Digital.

Afua Hirsch – British writer and broadcaster.

Charlene White – British journalist and newsreader at ITV News.

Isha Sesay – British journalist.

 

The letter, which was released this morning, “strongly” condemned the BBC for its decision.

It also claimed that the decision was a “form of racially discriminatory treatment towards BAME people.”

Signed by 150 people, the letter also asked that: “BBC management issue support for journalists and acknowledge there can be no expectation of ‘impartiality’ over experiences of racism.”

It also goes on to question the bodies that oversee its complaints – asking officials in the BBC Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) and Ofcom to: “Address their own levels of diversity and increase transparency as to how they reach their decisions.”

It continued: “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.”

‘DEEPLY FLAWED’

The signatories also claim that this will set a dangerous precedent for BAME employees in the future.

The letter ended by saying it believed: “In addition to being deeply flawed, illegal and contrary to the spirit and purpose of public broadcasting, the BBC’s current position will have a profound effect on future diversity within the BBC.”

Former Channel 5 News presenter Marverine Cole also signed the letter and today tweeted her support for Ms Munchetty.

She wrote: “Together we stand. I signed this letter. Racism should be called out. It’s ridiculous when someone calling out racism is reprimanded.”

Marcus Ryder, the Chief Editor of Chinese broadcaster CGTN Digital, added: “Proud to be signatory, along with over 150 other BAME broadcasters and journalists, demanding change following the Naga judgement that she broke BBC editorial guidelines.”


The BBC was forced to clarify its ruling over Ms Munchetty on Thursday after it was widely criticised, notably by Mr Corbyn, who said that she “stated a fact”, and urged the BBC to “explain this astonishing decision”.

In a statement, they said the corporation’s editorial guidelines: “Do not allow for journalists to then give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so.

“It was for this reason that the complaint was partially upheld.

“Those judgments are for the audience to make.”

EPA

Naga Munchetty’s comment came after Donald Trump told four female politicians to ‘go back’ to where they came from[/caption]

Getty Images – Getty

Munchetty called Trump’s comments ’embedded with racism’[/caption]

(Channel 4 images must not be altered or manipulated in any way) This picture may be used

Krishnan Guru Murthy was among the signatories of the letter to the BBC[/caption]

Splash News

David Harewood also backed Munchetty and signed the open letter[/caption]

Twitter

Chancellor Sajid Javid showed his support calling the BBC’s ruling ‘ridiculous’[/caption]

Rex Features

Isha Sesay also signed the letter, demanding the ruling against Munchetty to be revoked[/caption]

PA:Press Association

Naga Munchetty regularly presents on BBC One[/caption]

Copyright (c) 2017 Rex Features. No use without permission.

Afua Hirsch also deemed the ruling unfair and backed Munchetty’s comments about Donald Trump[/caption]

Getty Images – Getty

Gina Yashere was also among the signatories[/caption]

The Open Letter to the BBC on the Naga Munchetty ruling

“We, the undersigned group of people of colour who work in the media and broadcasting in the UK, strongly condemn this finding and assert that it amounts to both a misunderstanding of the BBC’s editorial guidelines, and a form of racially discriminatory treatment towards BAME people who work on programming.

“The BBC’s editorial guidelines allow for “professional judgment, rooted in evidence”, and require “cultural views in other communities” to be taken into account. The ECU – which we believe does not reflect the diverse cultural views in the BAME communities in the UK – has failed to acknowledge the following:

“Racism is not a valid opinion on which an “impartial” stance can or should be maintained;

“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;

“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.

“While we stand in support of Munchetty, the consequences of this decision are widespread with implications for the entire media landscape in the UK and those who work within it.

“The scope of its effect is already evidenced in the unprecedented number of BAME media figures who have openly and publicly voiced their condemnation on social media.

“In addition, we note the number of BBC journalists who have contacted us privately to express their concern at the climate of fear at the organisation, their feeling of being censored, and their apprehension at the consequences of their speaking out in support of this statement.

“We demand that: 1. The ECU revisits and takes seriously overturning its decision;

“2. BBC management issue their support for journalists and acknowledge there can be no expectation of “impartiality” over expressions and experiences of racism;

“3. The bodies that oversee complaints about broadcasting, including the ECU and Ofcom, address their own levels of diversity and increase transparency as to how they reach their decisions, and how that process takes place in a manner reflective of the diversity of the population.

“We believe that, in addition to being deeply flawed, illegal and contrary to the spirit and purpose of public broadcasting, the BBC’s current position will have a profound effect on future diversity within the BBC.

“To suggest that future BAME broadcasters will be hired at the corporation on the premise that they remain “impartial” about how they feel about their experiences of racism is ludicrous.

“To require journalists of all ethnicities and races to endorse racism as a legitimate “opinion” is an abrogation of responsibility of the most serious nature.”


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