Sideman quits BBC over news report containing racist term

Rated Awards 2018
Rated Awards 2018

BBC Radio 1xtra presenter Sideman has announced he is quitting the corporation over a news report which contained a racist term.

He said the broadcast was an "error of judgment", adding it "feels like a slap in the face to our community".

More than 18,000 people have complained to the BBC over the broadcast, which saw social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin repeat a racial slur allegedly used in a suspected racially-motivated attack in Bristol.

In a video posted on Instagram, Sideman, real name David Whitely, said: "This is an error in judgment where I can't just smile with you through the process and act like everything is OK.

"I'm happy working with organisations until we all get it right, but this feels like more than getting it wrong.

"The action and the defence of the action feels like a slap in the face to our community."

He added he is quitting the BBC, "effective immediately".

"With no apology I just don't feel comfortable being aligned with the organisation," Sideman said.

He said he has enjoyed his time at the BBC and has had "great opportunities", but added: "Money and opportunity doesn't outweigh the dissatisfaction that I feel with this situation.

"This is wild to me, especially in the current social climate, and I can't make any sense of it no matter how much I think about it, so I think it is time that I left."

The story ran on the BBC News Channel and local news programme Points West on July 29, but the broadcaster stopped running the report which featured the offensive language later that day.

On the day of the broadcast, a spokeswoman for the BBC said the report related to a "shocking unprovoked attack on a young man".

She added: "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.

"We are no longer running this version of the report but are continuing to pursue the story."

In a further statement on Tuesday, the BBC said: "We believe we gave adequate warnings that upsetting images and language would be used and we will continue to pursue this story."

The statement added the decision to include the term was taken "by a team of people including a number of senior editorial figures".

On Thursday, the BBC said it had received 18,656 complaints over the incident.

The broadcaster has been contacted for comment.