11:35 GMT25 September 2020
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    The BBC had originally defended using the N-word in a news report about a racially aggravated attack in Bristol, saying that the decision had been supported by the victim and his family. However BBC director Tony Hall has since apologised saying it was a mistake.

    BBC Director General Tony Hall has apologised for the BBC using a racial slur in a news report broadcast last month.

    The report in question was about a racially aggravated attack in Bristol, in which the presenter used the N-word. The report ran on the BBC News Channel and local news programme Points on 29 July.

    The BBC, which received more than 18,600 complaints over the report, had initially defended the use of the word saying it was supported by the family of the victim. Lord Hall now accepts that this had been a mistake.

    A BBC Radio 1Extra DJ quit his job on Saturday over the corporation’s use of this racial slur.

    Sideman, whose real name is David Whitely, said in a video statement on his Instagram page that the use of the word felt like a “slap in the face” and that he “didn’t feel comfortable” being aligned with the organisation any longer. 

    He announced that he would be quitting his show with immediate effect. 

    In an email sent to staff Lord Hall wrote, “This morning I brought together a group of BBC colleagues to discuss our news coverage of the recent shocking attack on an NHS worker. I wanted us to look at the issues raised by the reporting and the strength of feeling surrounding it.

    “We are proud of the BBC’s values of inclusion and respect, and have reflected long and hard on what people have had to say about the use of the n-word and all racist language both inside and outside the organisation. 

    “It should be clear that the BBC’s intention was to highlight an alleged racist attack. This is important journalism which the BBC should be reporting on and we will continue to do so.”

    Hall continued: “Yet despite these good intentions, I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people.

    “The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that. We will now be strengthening our guidance on offensive language across our output.

     “Every organisation should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here. It is important for us to listen – and also to learn. And that is what we will continue to do.”

    A spokesperson for BBC 1Xtra said: "Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously we are disappointed that he has taken this decision.

    "We absolutely wish him well for the future. The door is always open for future projects."

    A number of fans on social media praised Sideman’s decision to take a stand against the corporation.

    One fan shared his respect for the radio presenter.

    ​​Another said that they stood with his decision. 

    ​Guardian columnist and author Afua Hirsch wrote that he was brave for taking this stand.

    While a few Twitter users defended the BBC. 

    One wrote that the reporter was informing viewers of the language used.

    ​Another said the term was used to explain the severity of the attack.

    ​One user wrote that we should distinguish between “using” and “saying” the word.

    Tags:
    radio, racial slurs, BBC
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