The BBC has found itself in the middle of a new race controversy after confusing Labour MP Marsha de Cordova with another black MP during political coverage. Incredibly, the Evening Standard then added a third woman to the story.
De Cordova, the MP for Battersea, was speaking during a House of Commons session on the Agricultural Bill on Monday. However, BBC Parliament mistakenly identified her with a strapline for Dawn Butler, who is Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities and a candidate for deputy leader of the party.
The embarrassing blunder comes hot on the heels of the BBC being forced to apologise for a ‘human error’ which saw the broadcaster mixing up footage of Kobe Bryant with LeBron James, during a report on the helicopter crash which killed the US basketball legend.
However, somewhat bizarrely, it wasn’t just the BBC perpetrating gaffes relating to mistaken identity concerning Butler and de Cordova. The Evening Standard published the race storm story on the black Labour MPs with an image of Butler, but instead of using a picture of de Cordova they used a photo of Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the black Labour lawmaker for Streatham.
The paper, edited by former Tory Chancellor George Osborne, has since apologized for the error, claiming that Ribeiro-Addy’s image “had been wrongly captioned by one of our picture suppliers, Getty Images.”
Butler, responding on social media to the BBC’s gaffe, suggested the corporation’s problem on this issue was rooted in its failure to recruit enough black and ethnic minorities. She tweeted: “Diversity in the workplace matters it also helps to avoid making simple mistakes like this.”
De Cordova claimed on Twitter that she still hasn’t received an apology from the BBC, hours after the incident.
The latest race-related howler from the BBC has been met with a fiery response from many people online who appeared fed up with the broadcaster seemingly making a habit of committing such damaging errors.
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a political and women’s rights activist, accused the corporation of “projecting bias,” brutally claiming that “there’s no threshold of shame for @BBC.” One person sarcastically re-branded the BBC “The Black-Blind Corporation” in a tweet.
🙄Clearly there’s no threshold of shame for @BBC to keep demonstrating an ineptitude worthy of an institutionally dysfunctional organisation projecting bias & feeding negative stereotypes.Black. People. Are. Not. The. Same. pic.twitter.com/mbon0mZ7MW
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) February 4, 2020
Others tweeted gifs to voice their frustration at the broadcaster for making yet another “mistake.”
In November, the BBC caused consternation after using dated footage of PM Boris Johnson laying a poppy wreath during the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. It prompted many on social media to claim that the BBC was peddling “fake news,” accusing the broadcaster of “bias” and “propaganda.”
The public broadcaster is entering some uncertain times in light of its director general Tony Hall announcing in January that he’ll be stepping down from his role in the summer. Questions have been raised about the sustainability of its publicly-funded model.
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