The BBC is finally apologizing for using the n-word in a news segment after initially defending the use of the word.
Variety reports that an email from the British network’s director-general was sent to staff Sunday that said the company recognizes “that we have ended up creating distress among many people.”
“The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast, and we are very sorry for that,” Tony Hall said. “We will now be strengthening our guidance on offensive language across our output. Every organization should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here.”
The n-word was used during the Points West news show on July 29 while talking about musician and National Healthcare Association worker K-Dogg, who was hit by a car in England. The accident was later revealed to be a racially-motivated attack in which racist language was used.
The n-word was repeated on-air, and the BBC defended it, saying in a statement that the victim’s family “asked us specifically to show the photos of this man’s injuries and were also determined that we should report the racist language, in full, alleged to have been spoken by the occupants of the car.”
Then, that Sunday, BBC Two aired an episode of Lucy Worsely’s American History’s Biggest Fibs, where Worsley said the n-word while quoting John Wilkes Booth.
After hundreds of complaints, BBC issued another statement, saying, “Content information about the nature of the film was given before the programme started, and presenter Lucy Worsley gave a clear warning to the audience before quoting John Wilkes Booth as the term clearly has the potential to cause offence.” Worsely apologized, saying, “You’re right, it wasn’t acceptable, and I apologise.”
After that, BBC Radio 1xtra DJ Sideman, who is Black, resigned over BBC’s attempt to defend the use of the term.” The BBC sanctioning the N-word being said on national television by a white person is something I can’t rock with,” he said.
“This is an error of judgement where I can’t just smile with you through the process and act like everything is OK,” he added. “I just don’t feel comfortable being aligned with this organization.”