The BBC’s complaints unit has found that Naga Munchetty breached BBC guidelines when she criticised President Trump’s ‘racist’ remarks.
The BBC Breakfast presenter spoke out about comments made by the American head of state on Twitter in which he told “progressive Democrat Congresswomen” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on 17th July, Munchetty 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. I can imagine lots of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it’s okay to skirt the lines with using language like that.”
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 17, 2019
Her off-script remark was ruled by the BBC to have “gone beyond what the guidelines allow for”.
A spokesperson for the Corporation explained that the Executive Complaints Unit ruled that “while Ms Munchetty was entitled to give a personal response to the phrase ‘go back to your own country’ as it was rooted in her own experience, overall her comments went beyond what the guidelines allow for.”
They added that details of any action taken over Munchetty’s comments would be published later.
The ruling has sparked backlash on social media, with Labour MP David Lammy calling the ECU’s decision on Twitter “appalling”.
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, added: “The fact that someone doesn’t realise the comments Trump made are embedded in racism is shocking. Because it is!
Channel 4 newsreader Krishnan Guru-Murthy wrote: “When you think about what those (mostly) older white men have got away with saying on the BBC and Twitter day after day this is a quite perplexing finding.”
Munchetty has yet to respond to the ruling.
Explaining the Editorial Complaints Unit's decision on BBC Breakfast and President Trump's comments pic.twitter.com/LuJdjPNZll
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) September 26, 2019
Update: a full statement from the BBC is above…