BBC accused of 'gagging' breakfast presenter for criticising Trump's racist comments

PUBLISHED: 13:51 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 19:16 26 September 2019

The BBC's Naga Munchetty. Photograph: BBC.

The BBC's Naga Munchetty. Photograph: BBC.

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The BBC has been accused of 'gagging' breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty after they rebuked her for 'breaking guidelines' when she criticised racist comments from Donald Trump.

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The BBC Breakfast host condemned the comments made by the US president about his political rivals, after he told female Democrats to "go back" to their own counties.

Munchetty earned plaudits for her decision to speak about her struggles and share her experiences of being told herself to "go back to your own country".

Speaking on BBC Breakfast in the aftermath of Trump's online remarks, she said: "Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.

"Now, I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean."

Trump had shared posted several messages on Twitter in which he made references to politicians Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. They are US citizens and three were born in America.

Munchetty's assertion that Trump's comments were embedded in racism went beyond what the BBC allows, and a complaint made about the presenter's comments was upheld by the executive complaints unit (ECU) of the BBC.

Explaining the decision a BBC spokesperson said it is "evident that Ms Munchetty, despite at the end of the exchange acknowledging 'I am not here to give my opinion', did comment directly and critically on the possible motive for, and potential consequences of, the president's conduct, which by their nature were a matter for legitimate discussion and debate. This, in our view, went beyond what the guidelines allow for under these circumstances".

Piers Morgan, presenter of breakfast television rival Good Morning Britain, said she had been "gagged".

He tweeted: "Since the BBC will gag my breakfast show rival @BBCNaga from saying anything about this, allow me: it's bloody ridiculous".

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