ENTERTAINMENT
15/10/2019 00:01 BST | Updated 15/10/2019 09:19 BST

Bill Turnbull Was ‘Cross’ Over BBC’s ‘Unfair’ Decision To Uphold Complaint Against BBC Breakfast Colleague Naga Munchetty

“They failed to understand the stigma of the ruling for Naga. It’s a mark on your record forever."

Bill Turnbull has spoken out to defend his former BBC Breakfast colleague Naga Munchetty after the corporation ruled she had breached their guidelines around impartiality.

Naga was found to have broken the BBC’s editorial guidelines after she criticised racist comments by Donald Trump - a decision that was eventually overturned by BBC Director General Tony Hall following a backlash to the original ruling.

BBC
Bill Turnbull and Naga Munchetty on BBC Breakfast

In an interview with Radio Times, her former colleague - who revealed he had been diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer last year - says the initial ruling made him “cross” because he was all too aware of the everyday racism she faces.

“What happened to Naga made me cross because I know the amount of crap she’s had to put up with on pretty much a daily basis in her life,” he told the magazine.

Asked if he meant racism, he replied: “Yes. And for that to happen to her just seems to me pretty unfair.”

He added: “There is a line to hold, but I think they were holding it in the wrong place. 

“If you’re going to get into trouble for calling out racism, even if you don’t do it exactly according to the BBC regulations, then they need to rethink. 

“They failed to understand the stigma of the ruling for Naga. It’s a mark on your record forever. They could have had a quiet word: ‘Look, when you say that kind of thing…’”

Jeff Spicer via Getty Images
Bill Turnbull 

However, another former BBC employee doesn’t agree with Bill’s views.

Earlier this month, Jeremy Clarkson – best known for presenting Top Gear before he was sacked – penned a column in the Sunday Times lambasting Tony Hall for overturning the decision, suggesting he’d thrown the BBC’s chief of editorial policy “under the bus”.

He wrote: “What disturbs me most all about this sorry saga is that the BBC has thrown its chief of editorial policy, a man called David Jordan, under the bus.

“People complained after the Munchetty ruling that the [editorial policy] police were not considering what the situation felt like for a woman of colour. The truth is, though, that when they come to do their job, they don’t see colour.

“They just see a BBC News person implying the president of America is racist.”

Clarkson continued: “There may be only a few hundred people in the country who think Munchetty is wrong.

“But it is not the BBC’s job to ignore them or their views, abhorrent though they may be.”

Read the full interview with Bill Turnbull in this week’s Radio Times, out now. www.radiotimes.com

Radio Times
Radio Times