BBC director general warns staff: ‘No room for antisemitism’

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BBC director general warns staff: ‘No room for antisemitism’

Tim Davie's email follows a series of incidents, including a former senior member of staff who was sacked for actively promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media

Media gather outside the BBC headquarters
Media gather outside the BBC headquarters

The BBC’s director general has issued a stark warning to employees about “antisemitic behaviour”.

Tim Davie’s email follows a series of incidents, including a former senior member of staff who was sacked for actively promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media.

Davie wrote: “As many of you may have seen, sadly in recent weeks we have been alerted to some antisemitic behaviour by people who worked with us. I want to be clear that there can be no place at the BBC for racist abuse of any kind, whether towards our Jewish colleagues or indeed colleagues from any background or belief. Any form of antisemitism, Islamophobia or racist abuse is abhorrent, and we will always act whenever it occurs. We must play our role to build understanding and tolerance.

Tim Davie

“If you have any concerns, about any form of abuse, I would ask you to speak up, either to your line manager or by using the support at work or whistleblowing services. The senior team and I are listening. We will continue to talk to a range of groups across the organisation as part of our shared commitment to create a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of background or belief.”

In a scathing response, Danny Cohen, former director of BBC Television, said: “The director general has at last acknowledged that the BBC has a problem with antisemitism. The evidence is irrefutable. It has taken months too long for this acknowledgment to happen. It’s a significant management failure on racism which has had a  damaging and distressing impact on British Jews. I’m sure that the Jewish community won’t find much comfort in this email. Actions are what matter.”

An anonymous Jewish member of BBC staff said: “I’ll believe it when I see it. Heard him say the same stuff before but still the same behaviour and attitudes are being tolerated and explained away. Of course it’s good to see this in writing from Tim but it actually makes me want to cry that it’s just in writing and not in practice.”

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