DJ David ‘Sideman’ Whitely quits Radio 1Xtra after BBC’s use of ‘N-word’ in TV news report

Whitely said he could not look the other way in this instance
Whitely said he could not look the other way in this instance - (Copyright EMPICS Entertainment)
17:40pm, Sun 09 Aug 2020
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DJ David ‘Sideman’ Whitely has quit his role at BBC Radio 1Xtra following a row over the use of the ‘N-word’ in a news report by the broadcaster.

The offensive term was used in a piece about a racial attack in Bristol, a move which saw 18,600 complaints from viewers.

Yet despite the backlash, the BBC initially defended its decision to use the word in full in the report.

It has since apologised, with director-general Lord Hall saying in a statement that the BBC ‘now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that’.

Whitely opposed his employers original stance to such an extent he has taken the bold move to leave his position at the radio station with immediate effect, saying ‘the action and the defence of the action feels like a slap in the face of our community’.

In an Instagram video, he said: "I’ve thought long and hard about what I’m about to say and what it means. And on this occasion I just don’t think that I can look the other way.

"I understand it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, that there will need to be a lot of learning and tearing down of certain building blocks of our society that took a long time to build up. So I’m okay with process. I’m okay with waiting, within reason, for certain things to change.

"But the BBC sanctioning the N-word being said on national television by a white person is something I can’t rock with.

"This is an error of judgement where I can’t just smile with you through the process and act like everything is okay."

Another former Radio 1Xtra DJ, Charlie Sloth, supported Whitely’s decision to leave the show.

He said: "I admire and respect you David! Well done for standing up for what you believe is right! You’re a King!! This world needs people like you!"

A BBC spokesperson released a statement saying: "Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously we are disappointed that he has taken this decision.

"We absolutely wish him well for the future. The door is always open for future projects."

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