BBC Under Fire for Saying Host Broke Rules Over Trump Racism Comment

Donald Trump -Serious 3 - June 19, 2019 - Getty -H 2019

The broadcaster claimed Naga Munchetty had breached its editorial guidelines in how she characterized the president's "go back" to the "places from which they came" comments about Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the summer.

The BBC has been heavily criticized for claiming a TV host breached its guidelines by calling out Donald Trump for perceived racism.

On Wednesday, the broadcaster upheld a single complaint against Naga Munchetty, who in July had taken issue with comments by the U.S. president after he had referenced Democratic politicians Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib and said they should "go back" to the "places from which they came."

Munchetty, speaking on the Breakfast news program, said: "Every time I have been told, as a woman of color, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism," a comment that the BBC said had gone "beyond what the guidelines allow for."

The decision has sparked a major backlash against the BBC, with much of the criticism coming from within the organization.

Gabriel Gatehouse, correspondent on the BBC's flagship Newsnight show and one of many BBC employees speaking out, said: "I propose a little thought experiment: If a BBC presenter suggested on air that a black Brit should "go back to where they came from" and viewers complained the remark was racist, would the BBC uphold such a complaint? One would hope so."

Piers Morgan, who hosts Breakfast's ITV rival Good Morning Britain, said the decision was "bloody ridiculous" and "shameless censorship," adding that Munchetty's words were "powerful & necessary."

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K.'s Labour Party, said that Munchetty had stated a fact, not an opinion. "She shared experiences of racism she's suffered. That can't be at odds with any editorial guidelines," he tweeted.

On Thursday, the BBC sought to explain its position.

In a statement, it said that while there was "nothing wrong" with Munchetty talking about her own experience, its editorial guidelines did "not allow for journalists to then give their opinions about the individual giving the remarks of their motives for doing so."