The BBC issued a correction and apology over the weekend after interviewing a man who claimed to be US senator Cory Booker on Friday but was only pretending to be the New Jersey Democrat.
The broadcaster said in a statement on its website that the impersonator had apparently engaged in a “deliberate hoax.” The BBC said it had apologised to Booker and was investigating what went wrong to ensure it didn’t happen again.
The interview aired on the BBC’s “Newshour” radio program only once, and did not appear elsewhere, the statement said. An on-air apology was also issued Monday.
The discussion appeared to be about the Biden administration’s decision not to sanction Saudi Arabia after a recently declassified intelligence report implicated the country’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
A number of listeners picked up on the inconsistency at the time of the interview, voicing their concerns on Twitter.
“I’m not sure who the BBC World Service just interviewed on Newshour about US relations with Saudi Arabia, but it definitely wasn’t Senator Cory Booker…” one user tweeted.
“@CoryBooker did you do an interview today with the BBC discussing the Khashoggi killing? Someone sounding nothing like you and without your speech pattern was claiming to be you today,” tweeted another.
Booker’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the incident.
While uncommon, national news shows have been duped by pranksters before. Last December, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo believed she was interviewing the CEO of pork industry giant Smithfield Foods when it was actually an animal rights activist.