A BBC guest, Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked!, commented “there should be” riots surrounding Brexit. Then, 585 people filed complaints with the BBC over the remark, but the BBC rejected them all.
Because the host challenged him and the BBC didn’t know he was going to say it.
In the BBC Two Politics Live show on Sept. 27, O’Neill said, “I am amazed that there haven’t been riots yet” and later responded to a question that “I think there should be.”
In response, host Adam Fleming said “Should be? You’re urging people onto the streets to smash up Vodafone and McDonalds?” the Press Gazette reported. Then, after other comments from guests, O’Neill said “I’m not talking about smashing up shops.”
In a statement on its website, the BBC explained,
“This statement was immediately picked up on and pushed back by Adam Fleming and other guests. It was for Mr O’Neill to defend his position and we cannot know what a guest is going to say in advance. These were not views Brendan O’Neill had previously expressed and we had no prior knowledge of them.
“When a guest on live television makes a controversial statement of this sort, all the presenter can do is push back on air and allow other guests to challenge the comment which is exactly what Adam Fleming did.”
O’Neill told iMediaEthics by e-mail, “I’m afraid I’ve said everything I want to say about this nonsense story.”
The BBC told iMediaEthics it has no comment beyond its website report.