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Sideman says BBC can’t push race issues ‘under the rug’ after quitting Radio 1Xtra over racial slur

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Sideman
Sideman said there is institutional racism in the BBC (Picture: BBC/PA)

Former Radio Xtra host Sideman has said the BBC cannot push issues around race ‘under the rug’ for any longer.

Sideman said the corporation should improve diversity among senior managers and introduce training for its employees on race.

The DJ – real name David Whitely – announced he was quitting the broadcaster in August.

More than 18,000 people complained to the BBC over a broadcast in which social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin repeated the N-word allegedly used during an attack in Bristol.

The day after Sideman announced he was leaving the corporation over the incident, the then director-general Tony Hall apologised over the language used in the new report which ran on BBC News Channel and local news programme Points West.

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When asked what BBC bosses should do to stop controversies about race from occurring in the future, Sideman told PA that the corporation should show ‘understanding of the times that we are in’.

sideman
He quit the BBC after a presenter used a racial slur (Picture: Instagram)

He added: ‘Things are changing and black people’s issues are not an issue you can push under the rug any more.

‘It is something that you have to address, it’s something that you have to have an action plan for or these things will happen again and it will be embarrassing for you.’

The journalists who reported on the assault should have had training on how to deal with the situation, he said, adding: ‘You might not know what it feels like to have to deal with a racist attack, what it feels like for your very existence to have been an issue to somebody.’

Sideman said that while there is institutional racism in the BBC there also is in ‘almost every organisation in this country’ and he is not out to ‘slander or malign’ the broadcaster.

fiona lamdin
Fiona Lamdin said the N-word during a news report (Picture: BBC)

He said his mindset had changed following the Black Lives Matter movement and ‘the Sideman prior to George Floyd’s death probably wouldn’t have done what I did’.

He said he received ‘overwhelming support’ from other employees at the BBC after announcing his resignation.

Sideman said he did not expect the video he posted on social media announcing the move to gain so much traction.

‘I look back on what I did and think wow, people really amplified my voice and made it louder and made it have more impact,’ he said.

‘If social media didn’t make the big stink of it that they did, then it wouldn’t have been as monumental a thing as it was with the BBC apologising just over 24 hours later.’

He added that his actions should not have been necessary.

‘18,000 people complained the right way, the boring way,’ he said.

‘They went on a website and typed in a long, boring email. What I did was a video on Instagram. That to me says something about our society, that what I did caused more of a stink.’

Since leaving the BBC Sideman has teamed up with businessman Ric Lewis for the podcast The Mentor – which is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

The podcast sees three young people get given £5,000 each and access to advice from Lewis as they seek to achieve their business and personal goals.

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