CORRECTION: BBC Staff Were Not Told They Could Be Suspended For Attending LGBTQ+ Pride Events
CORRECTION: This article originally published on October 30, 2020, contained false information. It has now been updated and corrected.
The BBC Press Office released a statement on Twitter shortly before this story was published, saying: ‘There has been a lot of debate about whether there is a Pride “ban” – there is no ban on staff attending Pride events.’
BBC Impartiality Guidance published yesterday states: If news and current affairs staff are participating in such events they must be mindful of ensuring that they do not get involved in matters which could be deemed political or controversial.
BBC staff have reportedly been ordered not to attend LGBTQ+ or any form of protest or event, because of impartiality rules.
During a meeting on Wednesday, October 28, the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, David Jordan, told a group of senior executives that none of its staff would be permitted to attend anything deemed a ‘political protest’, which includes anything in association with LGBTQ+ rights or Black Lives Matter.
The stunning revelation, as reported by iNews, says there was pressure to distance itself and its staff from expressing forging opinions on issues like trans rights, so it didn’t look like the public broadcaster was taking a side.
One member of staff, working in news and current affairs, was reportedly threatened with a suspension if they were caught attending an LGBTQ+ protest, even though the BBC confirmed this is not the case and that staff should gain permission if they wished to do so, something itself that has been seen as controversial.
The guidelines suggest those who should not be attending such events are those who work in politically neutral areas of the company.
One angry staff member told iNews that the outrageous move was ‘obviously to please the Daily Mail and to make the BBC less of a target by rowing back.’
Director General Tim Davie recently issued guidelines on staff behaviour, citing they must refrain from ‘virtue signalling’ and to not publicly express a view ‘no matter how apparently worthy the cause or how much their message appears to be accepted or uncontroversial’.
Apparently, staff can partake in events such as Pride under the guise of ‘celebration’ rather than ‘protest’, which means they could not be seen to be standing up for trans equality which is, as we are all aware, a worthy cause to fight for.
Not only does the BBC employ members of the LGBTQ+ community and minorities alike, but they have ties to inclusivity events all year round, with attendance and coverage of Pride.
A BBC spokesperson has declined to comment on the specifics of this ruling, nor has it clarified what it means for those wishing to protest in favour of equality or to voice their concern on the oppression suffered by minorities.
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