UK
12/05/2014 07:10 BST | Updated 12/05/2014 14:59 BST

Boris Johnson Compares BBC's Inconsistency Over N-Word To 'Nigerian Maniacs' Of Boko Haram

Boris Johnson has claimed that the treatment of a BBC DJ who accidentally played a song containing the N-word was akin to the inconsistency shown by the "Nigerian maniacs" in Boko Haram.

In remarks criticised by his Labour opponents, the London mayor said Britain was living in a "Boko Haram world", in reference to the terrorist network that has kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria.

BBC Radio Devon broadcaster David Lowe claims he was forced to quit after playing an 82-year-old version of The Sun Has Got His Hat On which featured the racial slur.

boko boris

Johnson said the BBC was in a "Boko Haram world"

Just as a point of comparison, Boko Haram forbids Muslims to take part in any political or social activity connected to Western society, has killed more than 1,500 people this year, and specifically targets schoolchildren and teachers.

In his Daily Telegraph column on Monday, Johnson wrote: "In our own modest way, we live in a Boko Haram world, where it all depends on the swirling rage of the internet mob, and where terrified bureaucrats and politicians are borne along on a torrent of confected outrage.

"There is no consistency in the outlook of the Nigerian maniacs: they use weapons produced by the very capitalist system they claim to deplore, for instance.

"There is certainly no logic at the BBC. They should restore Mr Lowe to his job - if he will take it - and the entire BBC board should go down to Devon to apologise in person, and at their own expense."

He added: "Their treatment of this man is utterly disgraceful."

London Assembly member Len Duvall, leader of the Labour group called the Mayor's comments "totally unacceptable". Lowe, he said, had played "an immensely degrading word that is charged with slavery and the abuse of an entire people for over 150 years".

"Boris is yet again trying to score a cheap point in the battle to succeed David Cameron by pandering to the basest instincts of older Conservative Party members," Duvall said.

“This time he has gone too far in his endless quest for ‘shock and awe’ publicity. Boko Haram are a terrorist group that have killed thousands of innocent Nigerians, have enslaved hundreds of girls and wreak destruction on the people of northern Nigeria.

"The BBC, for all of its many faults, does not partake in these activities. For the Mayor to claim we live in a “Boko Harem” world says more about his desperate need for attention than it does about the state of free speech in our country.”

Johnson also pilloried the cyber-mob that attacked the footage of Jeremy Clarkson using the N-word, calling it "a clerisy of self-appointed internet witchdoctors went completely loco - or perhaps boko is the word".

He added: "I suppose David Lowe was less valuable to the corporation than Clarkson, which only makes it worse.

"Their treatment of this man is utterly disgraceful."

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Johnson said the treatment of David Lowe was "utterly disgraceful"

Johnson pointed out the frequent showings of Pulp Fiction on BBC channels, including the scene where Quentin Tarantino shouts: "Did you notice a sign in front of my house that says dead n***** storage?"

"If there were any logic or consistency in the world, the entire cadre of BBC schedulers would be asked to commit harakiri. They should all be sacked, from Tony Hall downwards – every man and woman in the place," Johnson said.

"Their crime is far worse than the offence of David Lowe of Radio Devon. They did it knowingly. They put Pulp Fiction on air, in the full knowledge that the director of the movie – who is white – gives currency and legitimation, out of his own mouth, to a term that they forbid to their own presenters, even accidentally and off the air.

Emma Clements, the station's acting editor, reportedly told Lowe that while he had "properly" dealt with his mistake, she thought it would be best for him to step aside.

After his exit, Lowe claims he was asked to say he was pursuing other interests. However, he refused and made the reasons public through his website.

The BBC has offered him his job back but Lowe said he declined because his departure caused him so much stress and flared up a medical condition he suffers from.

A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation admitted the discussion about Lowe's future "could have been handled better" and said the "door remained open" should he want to return.