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John Sergeant slams BBC over Naga Munchetty complaint


Naga Munchetty slammed US president Donald Trump for his remarks on four non-white politicians
Naga Munchetty slammed US president Donald Trump for his remarks on four non-white politicians

A VETERAN broadcaster has slammed the BBC for its handling of complaints against host Naga Munchetty.

John Sergeant, a former political correspondent with the BBC, said the controversy should have been dealt with quietly.

Munchetty was disciplined following a conversation on air in July where she criticised Trump for asking female members of the Democratic Party to go back to their own countries.

The BBC originally ruled that Munchetty had broken the rules saying “her comments went beyond what the guidelines allow for.”  The decision was overturned by director general Tony Hall after an outcry.

Commenting on how BBC handled the issue, Sergeant, 75, told Radio Times magazine:

“This was badly handled by BBC management and I’m not surprised that there have been angry comments from staff at closed meetings.”

He added: “The corporation has been accused of institutional racism. There have rightly been criticisms of the way Dan Walker wasn’t even involved in the original ruling, even though he was clearly egging on Naga to give her personal views.

“It looked to me like the return of our old friend: incompetence.”

He added that complaints should be answered “without slapping down the presenters in public, or trying to establish overly strict ground rules from on high.”

Last week, television regulator Ofcom ruled that Munchetty’s comments suggesting the US president was being “racist” did not breach official TV rules.

It also said the BBC Breakfast programme on which Munchetty made the remarks “did not raise issues warranting an investigation by it”.

In July she expressed concern over Trump’s comments that  four congresswoman should “go back” to the “places from which they came.”

Speaking about her own experiences, Munchetty said Trump’s comments made her “furious.”

“Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism,” she said, adding: “Now I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.”