Larry Madowo Rants After Employer, BBC, Apologises

File image of Larry Madowo
  • BBC journalist Larry Madowo was on Sunday, August 9, displeased with an apology issued by the broadcaster that he joined after he left Kenya’s NTV in a huff. 

    In a tweet, the outspoken media personality was not impressed by an apology from the station’s director-general Tony Hall over the use of the N-word in a report that had been broadcast earlier in July and defended by the British national broadcaster.

    He expressed his disappointment in the fact that the word had been said by a white person and the station tried to justify it but, the BBC had declined to publish the same word in a report he had filed even when, in his justification for using the word, he was a black man and his interviewee was a black American.

    “The BBC didn’t allow me, an actual black man, to use the N-word in an article when quoting an African American who used it. But a white person was allowed to say it on TV because it was ‘editorially justified’,” he stated.

    File image of Knight-Bagehot fellow Larry Madowo

    In the apology, the broadcaster indicated that the slur had been used in an attack in Bristol and broadcasted on the channel on July 29, 2020.

    BBC had initially defended the choice to broadcast the word even though 18,600 complaints had been made about it.

    “I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people,” Hall stated.

    BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Sideman, formally David Whitely, resigned on Saturday, August 8, after the broadcaster intially stood by its decision to air the clip.

    Madowo has previously narrated his experience with racism during his stay in the US when he moved there from Kenya for his graduate studies at Columbia University.

    The journalist revealed, in a June essay, that within the first week of moving to New York in 2019, he faced a racist encounter when he was invited to dinner in the upmarket Upper West Side area.

    On his way to the penthouse, carrying a plastic bag with fruits he bought for his host, he was made to use dirty service lifts in the back, behind the garbage bins.

    It was only when he got to the house that his host apologised for the actions of the racist doorman, who had deemed him to be a deliveryman and made him use the service elevator.

    The slur, according to Arizona State University Professor Neal A. Lester who spoke to Teaching Tolerance, has been considered derogatory since the 17th Century.

    “The word is inextricably linked with violence and brutality on black psyches and derogatory aspersions cast on black bodies. No degree of appropriating can rid it of that bloodsoaked history,” stated the professor.

    In US, the use of the word by whites in improper context has landed a majority including revered pop star Madonna.

    Madonna had used the N-word as a reference to a post about her son Rocco Ritchie on Instagram which backfired and her attempt to apologise about it on Facebook did not help either.

    Other US stars who have come under fire for the use of the word include socialite Paris Hilton, musician Charlie Sheen and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

    File image of Larry Madowo at BBC headquarters in London, United Kingdom
    File image of Larry Madowo at BBC headquarters in London, United Kingdom

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