Revealed: Fiona Bruce rang Question Time audience member to apologise
Revealed: Fiona Bruce rang Question Time audience member to apologise for calling him ‘the black guy’ – but he still wants to know why BBC deleted the clip
- Fiona Bruce referred to Question Time audience member as a ‘black guy’
- She and BBC have apologised after racism row was sparked over her description
Fiona Bruce called the audience member to apologise for calling him ‘the black guy’ during the BBC’s Question Time, but he still wants to know why the broadcaster deleted the clip.
In Thursday night’s broadcast of the show on BBC One, the host asked Roberto Gocan, 35, from the audience to put his question to the panel – but her racial description was edited out when it was uploaded to iPlayer.
Both Ms Bruce, 59, and the BBC apologised publicly for causing offence for her remarks, with the presenter saying it was ‘wrong to identify him as I did’. But she personally addressed the problem by calling Mr Gocan on Friday morning.
During the live broadcast, there did not appear to be an immediate reaction to her comment by the man in question or anybody else in the audience. However, the remarks drew fury from some on social media.
On Facebook, Mr Gocan himself questioned why the clip had been deleted. He wrote: ‘ Dear BBC, Why did you cut out Fiona Bruce saying “the black guy in the middle” in the BBC One showing of BBC Question Time last night?
‘It was audible on the live showing on BBC iPlayer. Why edit it if you think she said nothing wrong?
‘Yours Sincerely, The guy in the blue top.’
Speaking to The Mirror, Mr Roberto said the situation ‘took him back’ because he wasn’t expecting it.
Topical news panel show Question Time has been thrown into a race row after the BBC deleted a clip of Fiona Bruce (pictured) referring to an audience member as a ‘black guy’
In Thursday night’s broadcast of the show on BBC One, the host asked Roberto Gocan (pictured) from the audience to put his question to the panel – but her racial description was edited out when it was uploaded to iPlayer
On Facebook , Mr Gocan himself questioned why the clip had been deleted
He added: ‘I remember thinking at the time that everyone else was being described by what they were wearing, glasses and clothing. But then it all moved on so quickly.’
READ MORE: Question Time racism row as BBC deletes clip of Fiona Bruce referring to audience member as ‘black guy’ while presenter apologises for ‘causing offence’
‘I remember talking to a family member later in the evening about the show and saying that I was going to watch it back to check that I’d heard right. But that part was edited out of the show,’ he said.
Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal posted the original clip on X, formerly Twitter, writing: ‘Let’s hear from the ‘black guy”.
She had asked the audience in Wolverhampton: ‘Is it right to ban mobile phones in schools?’
The BBC presenter, whose arm was in a sling after she fell off her horse, took a question wearing a ‘colourful top’ and when asking for input from another audience member pointed to a ‘guy there in the middle… the black guy in the middle, yes you, sir.’
No one in the studio made a reaction to the comment and the audience member then asked a question about limiting mobile use in schools as well as government funding.
In the version of the programme uploaded to BBC iPlayer, Bruce says, ‘the guy in the middle, yes you, sir’, with the ‘black guy’ description removed.
The BBC have since confirmed that Ms Bruce’s comment had been edited out and she has since directly apologised to the audience member. The presenter said: ‘I totally understand why my words last night caused offence and I apologise.
‘I have spoken to the audience member directly and explained that usually I can see and describe an item of clothing or otherwise to help sound engineers with a microphone find people in the audience.
Fiona Bruce pictured today with a black eye and her arm in a sling after she fell off her horse in a recent accident
Sitting on the panel on last night’s Question Time were (left to right) journalist and author and Tony Parsons, writer Emma Dabiri Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth, host Fiona Bruce, Transport Minister Richard Holden and Iceland supermarket executive Richard Walker
Ms Bruce’s personal apology to the member of the audience is understood to have been positively received
‘Last night that was not the case as my view was obscured. In the split second I had, the easiest thing to do would have been to ignore the audience member and move on, but I felt strongly that his voice should be heard.
‘Nonetheless, I feel it was wrong to identify him as I did and that’s why it was removed from the later edited programme.’
Ms Bruce’s personal apology to the member of the audience is understood to have been positively received.
A spokesperson for the BBC said: ‘We regret the choice of words used to identify the audience member.
‘The intent was to ensure his voice was heard, however we recognise we should not have identified him in this way and apologise for any offence caused.
‘As such the recorded version on iPlayer has been edited to remove this.’
Sitting on the panel on last night’s Question Time were Transport Minister Richard Holden, Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth, writer Emma Dabiri, Iceland supermarket executive Richard Walker and journalist and author Tony Parsons.
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