Sideman quits BBC over news report containing racist term

Sideman All Day attending a special screening of Pacific Rim Uprising, held at the Vue West End, London
Sideman All Day attending a special screening of Pacific Rim Uprising, held at the Vue West End, London

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.

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC set out the context of the news report about the shocking attack on an NHS worker in Bristol.

“As we have said, the word is highly offensive and we completely accept and understand why people have been upset by its use.

BBC Stock
The BBC has received more than 18,600 complaints over the broadcast (Ian West/PA)

“The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offence.

“But, in this specific context we felt the need to explain, and report, not just the injuries but, given their alleged extreme nature, the words alleged to have been used – a position which, as we have said, was supported by the family and the victim.”

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

A spokesman for Radio 1xrta said: “Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously we are disappointed that he has taken this decision.

“We absolutely wish him well for the future. The door is always open for future projects.”

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