Police charge man over alleged ‘racist and abusive behaviour’ towards BBC journalist

BBC reporter Sima Kotcha (Courtesy: Twitter)
BBC reporter Sima Kotcha (Courtesy: Twitter)

LEICESTERSHIRE POLICE has charged a 50-year-old man after he allegedly hurled racist abuse at a BBC journalist and crew.

Russell Rawlingson has been accused of “using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour to cause harassment/alarm/distress” following an incident in which a reporter, Sima Kotecha, and production crew were verbally abused in Leicester city centre on Sunday evening (10).

He was arrested on Monday, and will appear at Leicester Magistrates’ Court today.

Kotecha said she and the crew were subjected to “racist and abusive behaviour” while preparing to interview people of Leicester on the prime minister’s lockdown exit plans.

The programme was cancelled due to fracas. “Apologies – but man shouting terrible things at me has ruined it for everyone. I’m afraid not going to make it on the special programme,” she tweeted.

Terming the incident “sad obstruction of reporting of a national crisis”, Kotecha added that she was “furious”.

A BBC spokesman said: “While preparing to broadcast, our reporter, her production team and guests were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour.

“We will not tolerate racism or abuse of our staff.”