BBC Radio host DJ Sideman announced that he’s quitting the team following a reporter’s use of the n-word in a news segment. The BBC Radio 1xtra host, whose real name is David Whitely, announced his departure from BBC in an Instagram post.
“I just don’t feel comfortable being aligned with the organization,” Whitely, who is Black, said in the social media video posted Saturday. “I can’t make sense of it no matter how much I think about it. So I think it’s time that I’ve left.”
Whitely made his announcement after BBC reporter Fiona Lamdin used the racial slur to recount a violent crime. During her description of the attack, in which a healthcare worker was hit by a car, Lamdin said, “Just to warn you, you’re about to hear highly offensive language because as the men ran away they hurled racial abuse, calling him a ‘n*****.'”
Since airing the video late July, the BBC received more than 18,600 complaints about the reporter’s use of the racial slur. The network responded to the backlash noting that “decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offense.
BBC added: “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.”
While the BBC said that it will not the air segment again in its current form, Whitely shared network’s ultimate approval to televise the video segment on live television deeply disturbed him.
“The BBC sanctioning the n-word said on national television by a white person is something I can’t rock with,” he said. “This feels like more than getting it wrong. The action and the defense of the action feels like a slap in the face of our community.”
Watch Whitely’s full statement below.