BBC Director General Creates Media Waves After Comments Over Redundancies

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Mark Thompson tells staff: "no one is forcing you to stay."

LONDON – BBC director general Mark Thompson created media waves Monday after it emerged he told BBC staff members facing possible redundancy that no one was forcing them to stay, according to The Guardian.

Thompson is reported to have said “no one is forcing you to stay” during a visit to the BBC’s Northern Ireland HQ in Belfast last week.

He faced questions by staff there about the forthcoming job losses at the BBC – around 2,000 staff posts are expected to go as part of the Corporation’s plans to make £670 million ($1 billion) in savings a year.

He said: “If you're really that unhappy, if you think that you can't do your best work here then leave – no one is forcing you to stay."

The National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stainistreet told the Guardian his comments “showed his complete and utter contempt for his staff” adding “perhaps it's about time he moved on – after all, no one's forcing him to stay."

BBC News is expected to feel the most pain from the BBC cuts.

The exchange between Thompson and BBC staffers was described as “robust” with one source quoted as saying that Thompson is “never one to dodge difficult conversations.”

His comments sent the internet a-twitter with Thompson’s forthright comments at the center of a debate over the BBC’s management, cuts and the future role of the Corporation.