Black radio host exits BBC after station allows reporter to use n-word in a news report
'Money and opportunity doesn't outweigh the dissatisfaction I feel with this situation,' David Whitely says
A Black radio host has resigned his post at BBC after the British public service broadcaster allowed a reporter to use a racial slur during a television news story.
David Whitely, who goes by DJ Sideman and appeared on the “BBC Radio 1Xtra” show, in a video posted to Instagram Saturday announced that he was quitting, effective immediately. The move comes in the wake of BBC journalist Fiona Lamdin‘s uttering the n-word during a July 29 broadcast of the long-running “Points West,” a regional news program in England.
According to Deadline, Lamdin, a BBC social affairs correspondent, was explaining a story on violent crime in which a health-care worker was struck by a vehicle.
“Just to warn you, you’re about to hear highly offensive language because as the men ran away they hurled racial abuse, calling him a ‘nigger,'” Lambdin said.
Twitter user @laurellah captured the broadcast of the story in cell phone video and shared it on the social platform, where it has picked up 8,500 retweets as of Sunday morning.
Whitely, who is also a comedian, was not pleased with Lamdin’s use of the word, but he was also angry at the BBC for allowing it to air.
Whitely expressed that he understood that patience was required to see progress on racial equality, but this incident was a step too far:
“I understand transition. I understand it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, that there will need to be a lot of learning and unlearning and tearing down of certain building blocks of our society that took a long time to build up. So I’m OK with process; I’m OK with waiting, within reason, for certain things to change,” he said.
“But the BBC sanctioning the n-word being said on national television by a white person is something I can’t rock with.”
“This is an error in judgment where I can’t just smile with you through the process and act like everything is OK,” Whitely said, adding that “this feels like more than getting it wrong.”
“The action, and the defense of the action, feels like a slap in the face of our community,” he continued. “With no apology, I just don’t feel comfortable being aligned with the organization” for “money and opportunity doesn’t outweigh the dissatisfaction I feel with this situation.”
Deadline reported that BBC received more than 18,600 complaints for airing the slur. The British radio outlet explained its rationalization in a statement.
The “decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offense,” the organization said.
“In this specific context we felt the need to explain, and report, not just the injuries but, given their alleged extreme nature, the words alleged to have been used – a position which, as we have said, was supported by the family and the victim,” the BBC said.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!