Presenter who called Christian lawyer a ‘bigot’ broke rules

A BBC radio presenter who called a Christian lawyer a “bigot” has been told that his behaviour was in “serious breach” of the broadcaster’s editorial guidelines.

Iain Lee left his job at BBC Three Counties Radio two weeks after he conducted an interview with lawyer Libby Powell.

She was defending a prison worker who was forced out of his role for quoting the Bible on homosexuality.

Inappropriate

In a ruling published earlier this week, the BBC Trust said that Powell was “not treated with respect but instead faced significant personal criticism and challenge”.

It said that the overall tone of the interview, which took place on 3 November last year, was “inappropriate” and “unduly confrontational”.

The Trust also expressed concern that several other BBC local radio presenters had conducted similarly unprofessional interviews in recent times.

Bigot

During the radio interview, Lee called Powell, who works for Christian Concern, a “bigot” in response to her saying that the Bible is the word of God.

The presenter also said that the prison worker’s views on homosexuality were “obnoxious” and “poisonous”.

According to Powell, the prison worker quoted verses from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 during a chapel service. The passage lists a number of sins including homosexual practice.

Apology

After the incident, the BBC issued an apology, saying it “fully accepts that the language the presenter used, and the tone in which he conducted these interviews, was at several points inappropriate.

“The BBC – and Iain Lee himself – wish to apologise for any offence that may have been caused”.

Related Resources