John Humphrys Brands BBC's Response To Naga Munchetty Row A 'Muddle'

He stuck up for the BBC Breakfast presenter after the corporation's director-general overturned ruling saying she had breached their guidelines.
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Broadcaster John Humphrys has weighed in on the recent row surrounding BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, describing the BBC’s handling of the situation “a muddle”.

Last month, the BBC ruled that they were upholding a complaint made about Naga, over comments she made about racist tweets posted by US president Donald Trump.

The corporation’s Executive Complaints Unit initially said that her remarks breached their impartiality guidelines, but this decision faced a huge backlash and was eventually overturned by the BBC’s director-general, Tony Hall.

Naga Munchetty
Naga Munchetty
SIPA USA/PA Images

When asked about the matter during an interview on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain, John – who stepped down as host of Radio 4’s Today programme last month – said: “I think muddle is exactly the right word.”

Sticking up for the BBC Breakfast presenter, he said: “If Naga wants to say, as a woman of colour, ‘This has happened to me, this is my experience’, she is absolutely entitled to say that. She is not offering an opinion. She is stating a fact.

“She was invited to offer a few thoughts and I suppose if we were all utterly... above reproach in every respect, and she was wearing a little halo, she [might have] said, ‘I don’t think that I can entertain that thought because this isn’t for presenters to do’. But you know, come on, she’s human. It would have been dull, it would have been slightly silly.

“I don’t think she did anything terribly wrong.”

John Humphrys
John Humphrys
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

However, he added: “Maybe some of the bosses were right when they said they, not she, stepped over the line a wee bit but sometimes lines are stepped over.”

In an email to BBC employees on Monday night, Tony Hall said that he had reviewed the ruling after being asked by “many” of the corporation’s employees.

He said: “In this instance, I don’t think Naga’s words were sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint around the comments she made.”

Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV.

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