BBC apologises for not censoring N-word during broadcast
The BBC has apologised after journalist Fiona Lamdin sparked intense backlash after using a racial slur during a news report about a young victim of a racially-motivated attack.
The BBC social affairs correspondent from Bristol in the UK uttered the N-word late last month while describing a serious assault of a black National Health Service worker who was hit by a car in the city.
The attack was considered to be racially motivated as the perpetrators allegedly shouted the derogatory term to the victim.
Ms Lamdin gave viewers just a few moments notice before the word was spoken.
“Just to warn you, you’re about to hear highly offensive language,” Ms Lamdin said.
“Because as the men ran away they hurled racial abuse, calling him a ‘n*****’.”
Over the weekend, BBC Director-General Tony Hall apologised to staff in an email and said the intention “was to highlight an alleged racist attack.”
“Yet despite these good intentions, I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people,” he said, adding that: “every organisation should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here.”
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Ms Lamdin’s comment immediately caused an uproar, with furious viewers expressing their outrage on social media.
“Why did you feel the need to use the ‘n-word’ when talking about this incident? Not only is the use of the word appalling it also took away from the actual focus of the conversation,” one Twitter user posted.
“I nearly gave myself whiplash to see if what I heard at 11am on BBC news was correct. Your use of that word, as a white woman, was disgraceful, this is not an ‘editorial decision’ it was not needed for context and you absolutely would have been right to refuse to use it,” another wrote.
“If no one in the editorial team dared to stop the explicit use of offensive language; you should have. Buck stops with you,” another argued.
A number of fellow journalists also criticised Ms Lamdin, with one saying it was never appropriate to repeat the word under any circumstances – “even when describing a racist incident”.
The backlash was so severe the BBC issued a statement addressing viewer concerns soon afterwards.
“This was a story about a shocking unprovoked attack on a young black man,” a BBC spokesperson said, according to the UK’s Radio Times.
“His family told the BBC about the racist language used by the attackers and wanted to see the full facts made public.
“A warning was given before this was reported.”
However, the spokesperson confirmed the organisation was no longer running the offensive version of the report, but was “continuing to pursue the story”.
Ms Lamdin does not seem to have publicly addressed the outcry.
On Wednesday, she shared a photo of the young man’s gruesome injuries on Twitter, claiming his family asked her to share the “awful image”.
The incident comes in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and across the world, which has put the spotlight on systemic racism faced by the African-American community and other minorities.