Prominent broadcasters defend Naga Munchetty over Donald Trump racism comments

Amy West
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Naga Munchetty attends the Attitude Pride Awards 2018 at The Berkeley Hotel on July 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

A number of high profile black actors and broadcasts have come out in defence of broadcaster Naga Munchetty following the BBC’s conclusion that her criticism of Donald Trump earlier this year breached impartiality guidelines.

Sky News’ Gillian Joseph, journalist Marcus Ryder, filmmaker Asif Kapadia, Supergirl actor David Harewood, comedian Gina Yashere, media personality Sir Lenny Henry and more have all signed a letter urging the BBC to reconsider its verdict.

Read more: Piers Morgan defends Naga Munchetty

Writer Afua Hirsch - who helped organise the appeal - appeared on the Today programme on Friday 27 September to explain: "As a matter of principle, it [the BBC decision] suggests that the racist views she was commenting on are opinions that should be treated impartially.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Afua Hirsch attends the The Booker Prize 2019 party to celebrate the longlist and recently announced shortlist at The Serpentine Pavilion on September 3, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

“That really legitimises racism and suggests it's something we should debate.

"That's clearly wrong and it's widely accepted that racism is not a legitimate opinion, so I think the BBC has got confused by treating it that way."

The BBC Breakfast presenter went off-script during a live show in July to share her own experiences with racism, after herself and fellow newsreader Dan Walker informed viewers about a series of confrontational tweets the US president had sent out.

Read more: BBC expands on its ruling over Naga Munchetty's Donald Trump comments

Radio 1’s breakfast presenter Greg James has also spoken up for the newsreader online.

Radio 1 DJ Greg James has shared his support of BBC Breakfast host Naga Munchetty after the corporation ruled her criticism of Donald Trump earlier this year broke company rules (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images for Noah X)

“Been reading and thinking so much about this today because it made me feel uneasy,” James wrote on Twitter as the backlash against the corporation mounted.

“I think my issue with it is that you have to make sure people who bravely say things that highlight how vulnerable they’ve felt are looked after by the guidelines as well,” he added. “Bloody love Naga.”

In the aforementioned Twitter thread, Trump had urged congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley - all of whom are US citizens - to “go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” after they slammed his immigration policies.

“I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean,” Munchetty noted at the time.

James isn’t the only one sharing his support of Munchetty publicly. Yesterday, Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan took to Twitter to say that the BBC was guilty of “shameful censorship.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 23: Naga Munchetty at The Veuve Clicquot 2019 Business Woman Awards at The Design Museum on May 23, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images Veuve Clicquot)

Prior to that, Radio 2’s Trevor Nelson tweeted: “I don't see anything wrong with speaking your truth. I am a mere DJ so don't do politics on my shows but every person of colour knows exactly what that phrase 'go back home' means.

“Unless you've experienced it, it's hard to truly understand.”