John Humphrys: ‘Stonewall continues to influence the BBC’

Veteran broadcaster John Humphrys has warned that the BBC remains under the influence of LGBT lobby group Stonewall.

The former BBC journalist, who presented Radio 4’s Today programme for over 30 years, made the comments after current presenter Justin Webb was investigated for saying “trans women” are “in other words male”.

The BBC Executive Complaints Unit claimed Webb gave “the impression of endorsing one viewpoint in a highly controversial area”, during a discussion about men who claim to be women competing in women’s chess tournaments.

‘Dangerous waters’

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Humphrys said Webb speaks for “an awful lot of people” both inside and outside the BBC.

“I suspect Stonewall still has rather more influence within the BBC than it does in the outside world, even since the management decided to end the formal arrangement.”

An anonymous email seen by the newspaper told BBC director-general Tim Davie: “If the BBC is to censure journalists for being factual we are slipping into very dangerous waters.”

BBC bias

Fiona McAnena, Director of Campaigns for women’s group Sex Matters, said: “The truth can be uncomfortable but has to be told in the context of delivering the news, and that is the task of a public broadcaster.

“Avoiding uncomfortable truths to appease people isn’t being kind; it is evidence of bias. The statement from BBC’s head of editorial standards, David Jordan, on the sensitivity of calling men who identify as women ‘male’ was particularly revealing.

“Shaping editorial standards around this sensitivity above all other considerations really gets to the heart of how the BBC is damaging its reputation and credibility.”


Last year, Justin Webb said people must not be silenced from voicing “legitimate fears” about vulnerable children being encouraged to believe they are the opposite sex.

In an interview with The Independent, the journalist said society is imposing “a psychological burden on kids” by asking them questions about their ‘gender and sexuality’.

He stressed that the public must “be able to talk about these things openly, and they’re too scared”.

Also see:


Stonewall banks £1.1m of taxpayers’ money

US: MS Society sacks 90-year-old volunteer for ‘breaching pronoun policy’

Open University Prof ‘hounded out of job’ for upholding biological sex wins case

Related Resources