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BBC apologises to Darcus Howe

Friday, August 12, 2011

The BBC has apologised to Trinidadian Darcus Howe, who had a testy interview with one of the corporation’s newscasters on Tuesday in which it was suggested that he was himself a participant in the violence which has shaken London. The corporation apologised for any offence caused, after complaints from viewers. The writer and presenter was a guest during a discussion about the unrest on the streets of London when he was challenged by presenter Fiona Armstrong. Howe had expressed the view that the police’s mistreatment of youths led to the uproar. He also spoke about the ignorance of police and the government when it came to dealing with the young people of London.

During the interview, Howe described how his grandson was stopped and searched by police countless times. He said what was taking place in London and other parts of England was not a riot, but in fact an “insurrection of the masses of the people.” He added that what was happening in London was going on in other parts of the world such as Syria, Liverpool and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. During the interview, Armstrong asked him: “You are not a stranger to riots yourself, I understand, are you? You have taken part in them yourself.”

But Howe, speaking from the aftermath of the disturbances in Croydon, responded: “I have never taken part in a single riot. I’ve been part of demonstrations that ended up in a conflict. “Stop accusing me of being a rioter and have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, because you wanted for me to get abusive. You just sound idiotic—have some respect.” Howe’s combative interview with Armstrong quickly shot across the Internet. Yesterday, the BBC issued a retraction. Editors called Armstrong’s question “poorly-phrased” and the BBC said it would apologise” for any offence that this interview has caused.”


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