BBC stung by more than 18,500 complaints after use of N-word in news report

The BBC confirmed it’s been hit with more than 18,000 complaints as using a racial slur in a news report last week.

On July 29, correspondent Fiona Lamdin said the N-word during a report on a racially motivated attack in Bristol, repeating the term as it was allegedly used during the incident.

The broadcaster eventually cut the report from the BBC News Channel, but was immediately stung by a downpour of angry complaints.

BBC still defended their use of the slur in response to critics who could not fathom why the station thought it was acceptable.

‘Clearly we would never want our reporting to become the focus of such an important story,’ it said in a statement.

‘We have listened to what people have had to say about the use of the word and we accept that this has caused offence but we would like people to understand why we took the decision we did.

‘This story was an important piece of journalism about a shocking incident. It was originally reported by some as a hit and run, but investigations indicated that racist language was used at the scene and it was then treated by the police as a racially aggravated attack.

‘The victim’s family were anxious the incident should be seen and understood by the wider public. It’s, for this reason, they 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.’

The station also went on to explain that the decision to air the word was not taken lightly, although TV bosses felt that their reasoning for doing so was justified.

It added: ‘Notwithstanding the family’s wishes, we independently considered whether the use of the word was editorially justified given the context. The word is used on air rarely, and in this case, as with all cases, the decision to use it in full was made by a team of people including a number of senior editorial figures.

‘You are, of course, right that the word is highly offensive and we completely accept and understand why people have been upset by its use. The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offence.’

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