The BBC has received 266 complaints about a scene in The Vicar Of Dibley , referencing the Black Lives Matter movement.
In last week's Christmas episode, Dawn French's character, Reverend Geraldine Granger, kneeled to Black Lives Matter and
delivered a sermon preaching about racism.
The BBC said in a statement it was in keeping with the character and the theme of the show. French's character is shown being filmed by parishioner and farmer Owen Newitt as she tells the audience she has
been preoccupied with the horror show of the death of George Floyd. In the scene, the vicar noted that Dibley, the fictional Oxfordshire village, is not the most diverse community, and encouraged its residents to get behind the anti-racism campaign.
The BBC has issued new guidance on social media usage, which will force staff to maintain impartiality. Employees will be told not to express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects. Staff will also be told
they must not bring the BBC into disrepute or criticise colleagues in public.
The new guidance on social media will apply to staff whether they are using online platforms professionally or personally.
The announcement follows new director
general Tim Davie's pledge last month to impose new social media rules.
The BBC said it had considered impartiality in the context of public expressions of opinion, taking part in campaigns and participating in marches or protests.
also be issued on avoiding bias through follows, likes, retweeting or other forms of sharing. The BBC said there would be tougher guidelines for some staff in news, current affairs, factual journalism, senior leadership, and a small number of presenters
who have a significant public profile.
The guidance states staff should avoid using disclaimers such as My views, not the BBC's in their biographies and profiles, as they provide no defence against personal expressions of opinion. It also advises
staff against using emojis which could reveal an opinion and undercut an otherwise impartial post, and to always assume they are posting publicly even if they have tight security settings.
The guidance states employees should avoid virtue signalling
and adds: Remember that your personal brand on social media is always secondary to your responsibility to the BBC.
The Jam's anti-racism anthem Down in the Tube Station at Midnight was a song released with a message in 1978. It had a powerful message, too strong for the BBC who thought that the track wasn't acceptable to play on the radio and, subsequently,
chose to ban it.
The track was met by hostility, eg when BBC Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn complained that it was disgusting the way punks sing about violence: Why can't they sing about trees and flowers?
Blackburn was not alone in the BBC
as a figure who hated everything about the song and the broadcaster decided, at the time, that they had no choice but to ban the track from receiving airplay due to its disturbing nature.
The Jam knew that making Down in the Tube Station at
Midnight as a single would be a bold move, one which would anger some quarters who simply wanted the music to be lovey-dovey and, in truth, not to reflect back at societal issues--a pivotal reason why they released it.
The Jam were three albums in and
had become an unstoppable force of nature so, if the BBC thought that there ban would nullify the message, they were wrong as it became their second UK Top 20 hit, much to the delight of Tony Blackburn no doubt.
The BBC has issued staff new guidance on the use of racist language in the wake of the controversy provoked by the use of a racial slur in a news report.
Use of the strongest racist language, as defined by broadcasting regulator Ofcom, must be
personally approved by the corporation's divisional directors. There must be exceptional editorial reasons to use the strongest racist terms, the updated guidance reads.
The new guidance says the use of racist language must be editorially
justified, and signposted, to ensure it meets audience expectations, wherever it appears.
It says the editorial justification test would now carry a presumption that such language will not normally be used unless a judgement at divisional director
level had ruled otherwise.
The BBC received complaints about a joke on Frankie Boyle's New World Order where a black comedian, Sophie Duker, jokingly supported the idea of 'killing whitey'.
In a segment where the panelists discuss if the movement glosses over the complexities
of a world where we all need to come together and kill whitey, Boyle played a clip of black author James Baldwin talking about black power in an interview on the Dick Cavett Show in the 1970s.
Responding to the clip, Duker said white power is
Trump Tower - a nod to Left-wing allegations that the US President is a racist.
She continued: But when we say we want to kill whitey, we don't really mean we want to kill whitey. Duker then quips to the panelists we do to roars of
The BBC has now responded on its website to the complaints, as always without explaining what the complaints were about. The BBC wrote:
We received complaints from people who felt comments made during
the programme were offensive.
Frankie Boyle's New World Order was shown after 10pm and its content is within audience expectations for a post-watershed, topical, satirical programme from a comedian whose style and tone are well-established.
Every week on the
show Frankie puts forward a number of topics for debate, this episode was no different. The panellists' comments were in response to a motion that was written and presented in line with the programme's tone and style.
is a talented comedian and a regular panellist on Frankie Boyle's New World Order, and we look forward to continue working with her at the BBC.