BBC bosses refuse to condemn homophobic, racist quotes from Charles Moore, the man Boris Johnson wants to take over
BBC bosses were challenged in parliament on the extreme racist and homophobic views of Charles Moore, Boris Johnson’s top contender to be next BBC chairman.
Moore, an ex-Telegraph editor and former boss of the prime minister, is reported to be Johnson’s first choice to take on the top media role despite voicing a litany of anti-LGBT+ views, including the idea that same-sex marriage would lead to bestiality.
The BBC’s director general Tim Davie and the current chairman David Clementi were confronted with some of Moore’s most offensive homophobic comments by the Labour MP for Cardiff West, Kevin Brennan, in a meeting of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday.
“Looking forward, as one always must, I wonder if the law will eventually be changed to allow one to marry one’s dog,” Moore wrote shortly before parliament passed same-sex marriage for England and Wales in 2013.
“The justification for [same-sex marriage] is ‘equality’, buttressed by the idea that love must carry all before it. People often love their dogs very much and want to spend their life with them. So why should they not, chastely, marry them?”
Davie and Clementi were also presented with Moore’s controversial views on race. “The Korean sets up a grocery store which the Black then robs – that is the caricature that modern America recognises,” Moore wrote in 1992.
“Why has this happened then? One explanation, made endlessly in conversation and hardly ever in print, is that there really is something different about Blacks, or at least about Black men, or at least about young Black men.”
Brennan directly quoted these comments, warning that the potential appointment of Moore is far from “trolling” and represents the prime minister’s “serious choice” for BBC chairman. With this in mind, he asked Davie for his reaction to the quotes.
The Prime Minister wants Charles Moore to be the next Chair of the BBC. Today in @CommonsDCMS I read out some of the Charles’ racist and homophobic quotes and asked the BBC’s Director General and Chairman if that’s the type of person who should be in charge of the BBC. pic.twitter.com/oCU0xPWbAs
— Kevin Brennan MP (@KevinBrennanMP) September 29, 2020
The BBC director general flatly refused to denounce the horrific comments, replying: “I don’t think it’s my place. You can read me quotes from anyone out there with all the various flavour to them…”
“Do you find them personally abhorrent?” Brennan pressed.
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“I’m not going to get drawn on it,” Davie insisted. “I think it’s the wrong thing for me to do, bluntly, based on the fact that there is speculation in the press. I’ve been very clear that I think it’s utterly appropriate that as a DGCO of the organisation, I let others, the board, yourself, make a chair.
“I trust in the process and I think we should do that.”
Clementi also refused to comment, similarly replying that it wasn’t his “job” to pick a successor.
“I’m shocked that you’re unable to say those comments were personally abhorrent to you,” Brennan said. “They would be personally abhorrent, I would’ve thought, to any decent human being.”
Among the many others who have raised alarm at the potential appointment of Charles Moore are The Muslim Council of Britain, LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell, multiple BBC veterans and the comedian Lenny Henry.