Readers of a British Newspaper were left outraged after the BBC aired a controversial debate, which asked whether there was a ‘problem with young black men,’ following the recent riot in Tottenham.
The discussion, aired on BBC World Radio, triggered several calls to the paper, with angered readers saying they felt the discussion topic was “ignorant.”
“People are outraged because it is such an ignorant question. It is not a brilliant or even thought provoking debate,” one reader said.
In the podcast, which lasted 55 minutes, the host asked a guest reporter, who had been on the scene of the violent north London disturbance, whether they thought that more black men had been involved in the riot.
The reporter replied that “all ethnicities” of “all ages” had taken part in the riots. His response triggered a number of complaints from listeners who accused the host of purposely singling out black men.
“I think that it is extremely irresponsible given the context and nature of the time and place it was asked. If they [BBC] need to have a debate then they should phrase it in a way that isn’t so offensive,” another reader said.
However, the BBC said they did not mean to cause any offence.
In a statement released to the public a BBC spokesperson said: “The original headline question that appeared online was, in hindsight, too stark and could have been clearer. We apologise for any offence it caused.”
“This programme was a responsible attempt to debate social attitudes towards young black men including whether they are unfairly blamed for causing trouble and we do not believe it was inflammatory.
“Riots were underway as the programme went to air and it was made clear on several occasions that those involved came from a range of ages, backgrounds and ethnicities,” they added.
It is the second time the BBC have had to apologise in two days. Last week (Aug 11) they were forced to say sorry to respected Voice columnist Darcus Howe for labelling him a former “rioter” in one of their programmes.
The riot on Tottenham High road was said to have been triggered following the death of a 29-year-old man at the hands of police.