THE head of the BBC has overturned a controversial ruling against presenter Naga Munchetty after she was disciplined for calling Donald Trump ‘racist’.
The Breakfast host was found to have breached editorial guidelines by criticising the US president, but the decision sparked a furious backlash and was widely condemned.
The ruling from the corporation’s complaints unit has now been reconsidered after Tony Hall, 68, “personally” reviewed the evidence.
In a letter sent to BBC employees, he wrote: “Racism is racism and the BBC is not impartial on the topic. There was never a finding against Naga for what she said about the President’s tweet.
“I don’t think Naga’s words were sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint around the comments she made.
“There was never any sanction against Naga and I hope this step makes that absolutely clear. She is an exceptional journalist and presenter and I am proud that she works for the BBC.
“I have asked the editorial and leadership teams to discuss how we manage live exchanges on air around these topics in the future.”
She was criticised following a conversation on air in July after President Trump tweeted that certain female members of the Democrat Party should “go back to their own countries.
Naga, 44, said: “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.
“Now, I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.”
But yesterday it was revealed her co-host Dan Walker, 42, had also been named in the original complaint, although he was not investigated.
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He was described as “very unprofessional” but it was only a later version of the complaint, focused on Naga, which was investigated.
The BBC’s original ruling which said her comments “went beyond what the guidelines allow for” sparked a petition to overturn the ruling which reached over 35,000 signatures.
Lenny Henry, 61, and Adrian Lester, 51, were among celebrities who penned an open letter condemning the BBC.
In July, Naga Munchetty said Donald Trump’s comments, telling four US Congresswoman of colour to ‘go home’ could be ’embedded in racism’[/caption]