08/08/2020 18:41 BST | Updated 08/08/2020 19:20 BST

Radio 1Xtra Presenter Sideman Quits Over BBC's Use Of N-Word

The BBC have received almost 19,000 complaints after a reporter used the racial slur during a news report.

Mark R. Milan via Getty Images
BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter Sideman has quit his show over the use of a racial slur in a news report.

Radio 1Xtra presenter Sideman has quit the BBC “effective immediately” over the use of the N-word in a news report

The DJ, whose real name is David Whitely, said the “action and the defence of the action feels like a slap in the face of our community”.

In a video posted on his Instagram account, he said: “This is an error in judgment where I can’t just smile with you through the process and act like everything is OK.

“I’m happy working with organisations until we all get it right, but this feels like more than getting it wrong.

“The action and the defence of the action feels like a slap in the face to our community.”

He added he is quitting the BBC “effective immediately”.

“With no apology I just don’t feel comfortable being aligned with the organisation,” he said.

“Money and opportunity doesn’t outweigh the dissatisfaction I feel in this situation. This is wild to me, especially in the current social climate and I can’t make any sense of it, no matter how much I think about it, so I think it’s time that I left.”

A spokesperson for Radio 1xrta said: “Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously we are disappointed that he has taken this decision.

“We absolutely wish him well for the future. The door is always open for future projects.”

On Thursday the BBC said it had received almost 19,000 complaints in the days after a reporter used the racial slur while covering a racist attack in Bristol.

The segment saw Fiona Lamdin reporting on two men who had driven a car into another man before running off and shouting racist abuse at him.

In the segment, Fiona Lamdin said: “Just to warn you, you are about to hear highly offensive language. Because as the man ran away they hurled racial abuse, calling him a n*****.”

Earlier this week, the BBC responded to the controversy, but notably did not apologise for featuring the N-word in the broadcast.

In a statement on their complaints website, the BBC said it “accepted that this has caused offence”, but claimed the use of the word was “editorially justified given the context”. 

“The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offence,” it said.

“But, in this specific context we felt the need to explain, and report, not just the injuries but, given their alleged extreme nature, the words alleged to have been used - a position which, as we have said, was supported by the family and the victim.

“These are difficult judgements but the context is very important in this particular case. We believe we gave adequate warnings that upsetting images and language would be used and we will continue to pursue this story.”

BBC guidance states “the strongest language” must not be shown before the watershed at 9pm, but the N-word itself is generally deemed too offensive to be aired at any time.

An Ofcom report about public perceptions of such language in 2016 deemed it to be “highly unacceptable at all times”, but said that if it is to be used then “strong contextualisation [is] required”.