BBC News’ LGBT Correspondent Ben Hunte has claimed that in his former role at BBC Africa he was asked to remove his social media over fears that his sexuality would not be well-received by its audience.
Ben Hunte’s show aired in countries where being gay is illegal
“I understand why that was because obviously there are people living within those countries and you don’t want to put them at risk,” the 27-year-old told Attitude for his cover story for its 25th anniversary issue.
Despite this, Hunte decided not to shut down his social media.
“There is a story there about being a black presenter facing an African continent, a show that was broadcast in nine countries where being gay is illegal,” he said.
Hunte presented on What’s New?, a TV programme for children in Africa, though he felt he didn’t have enough to offer.
“It was an incredible programme and it was such an incredible role to have but it was difficult because it felt like being silenced,” he explained.
“I have had to almost look at how I can align my social media now with this new role, and what is essentially a new life away from children’s TV because I couldn’t do anything for BBC Africa.”
Ben Hunte’s new role has been well-received
The correspondent feels being the first LGBT Correspondent for BBC News has been a positive change for his career.
“Here I am receiving messages every day from young people saying things like ‘Wow, it’s so nice to feel represented on screen,'” he said.
Hunte started the position last month, after being confirmed to the position in December.
“BBC News has a rich heritage of covering issues and debates from the LGBT community, BBC News’ UK news editor Richard Burgess said at the time.
“This year we announced our first gender and identity correspondent, Megha Mohan, and I’m thrilled that Ben will be taking up this dedicated role which aims to strengthen our offering of LGBT stories and original journalism across the BBC.”
The full interview can be found in Attitude‘s May 2019 issue.