• Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Guardian journalists apologise to former worker for not standing up against racial abuse

Vivek Chaudhary found little support when he called for boycotting a pub whose employee called him a ‘P***’

Woman holding sign with phrase End Racism on black background, closeup

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Journalists at The Guardian have apologised to a former colleague of Asian origin whose call for boycotting a pub over racism found little support from his fellow workers.

During Vivek Chaudhary’s stint at the two-century-old newspaper, an employee at the Coach & Horses pub in Farringdon called him a “P***”.

The journalist who worked for The Guardian for 15 years, said he stopped visiting the pub but his colleagues continued to go there despite knowing he was racially abused there.

This week, journalists at the newspaper passed a motion, saying, “We apologise unreservedly for the mishandling of this incident”, according to The Times.

Chaudhary had written to The Guardian editor since 2015, Katherine Viner, saying it was humiliating to hear of journalists arranging to meet at the pub.

“I recall a senior editor informing us money had been put behind its bar to celebrate an award,” he said.

“His comment to me was, ‘I know you don’t go there but you can stand outside and we’ll pass you a pint’,” Chaudhary, 57, wrote.

He said he “could not stomach The Guardian fixating on the police’s canteen culture but failing to address its own”.

“What was particularly sickening was seeing colleagues report so expertly on police racism but then head off to the pub where they knew a fellow journalist did not drink because he had been racially abused,” he wrote.

The newspaper’s National Union of Journalists chapel voted to boycott the pub but the move only resulted in a “vicious backlash” he said adding, it “exposed deeper racial fault lines in the office” as he was accused of being oversensitive.

He said when the boycott was overturned later, those who voted went out “to celebrate, leaving me disgusted”.

The apology from the journalists came 15 months after Chaudhary’s complaint, The Times reported.

Eastern Eye

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