11/03/2014 07:59 GMT | Updated 11/03/2014 11:59 GMT

EDL Girls - Don't Call Me Racist: BBC 3 Slammed For Giving 'Hateful Propaganda' A Platform


The BBC is under fire after airing a documentary on the female members living within the English Defence League's ranks.

Many of the members involved in the far-right group feel misunderstood and misrepresented by the media, the programme revealed, before airing intellectual views from the so-called EDL Angels, including: "I always thought Muslims were wrong" and you "can't buy a loaf of bread that's not Halal."

The BBC Three programme, EDL Girls - Don't Call Me Racist, was sold as being an exploration into what pushes women, many still just teenagers, to join such an infamous organisation – but it has instead been criticised for giving "hateful propaganda" a platform.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Matthew Collins, a researcher for the organisation Hope Not Hate and author of Hate: My Life in the British Far Right slammed the channel for airing such "banal, ill-informed dross where a bunch of racists went unchallenged."

Viewers were introduced to the EDL's regional leader Gail, who likes to yell "YORKSHIRE YORKSHIRE" sporadically, and lonely 18-year-old Amanda, who became interested in the group after a night at the pub.

Most striking, was the turmoil displayed by 16-year-old Katie from Reading, who was surrounded by a family of EDL activists but was herself unsure of whether she wanted to be more involved with the organisation.

edl angels

The show opened with a disturbing claim that, in the wake of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby last year, the EDL’s ranks had multiplied fivefold – information that was "absolute rubbish," Mr Collins said.

"The programme was full of gross inaccuracies," he said. "It certainly portrayed the EDL as the morons that they are, but so many of the inaccuracies cited went unchallenged."

"BBC 3 can produce some absolutely fantastic stuff, but it also churns out absolute crap like this."


Many viewers were quick to comment that it was "no surprise" that the BBC had decided to close its sole youth-focused TV channel in a series of new budget cuts.

"People were quite rightly questioning what the purpose was of this show being aired. There is an obligation for producers to check the facts that are being shown," Mr Collins said.

"At the end of the day it's a missed opportunity and it's really sad that the excellent project that was BBC 3 has now deteriorated to this state in the last couple of years."

Others took to Twitter to voice their frustrations over the programme and the opinions expressed in it:

As of Tuesday morning the television regulator Ofcom, told the Huffington Post it had only received two complaints about the show.

A BBC spokesman told HuffPost "the BBC has a responsibility to shine a light on such groups, looking at what their members believe and why, in order to encourage debate even if that makes people feel uncomfortable.

"The film was an observational documentary and we reported on what we found, leaving the audience to make up their own minds.”