BBC LGBT+ network demands director general Tim Davie clarify whether staff can go to Trans Pride
BBC Pride will ask new director general Tim Davie whether staff can go to Trans Pride events, amid anger and confusion over new impartiality guidelines released by the broadcaster yesterday (30 October).
The public broadcaster’s LGBT+ network today sent out a statement affirming “we stand with every member of our LGBTQ+ community” and acknowledging that LGBT+ BBC staffers are likely to be feeling “upset, distressed and confused”.
New BBC editorial impartiality guidelines published yesterday lay out what is acceptable for “those working in news and current affairs” to post on their personal social-media accounts. The guidelines also say that “judgement is required with regard to marches or demonstrations, though it should be assumed that most marches are contentious (in terms of impartiality) to some degree or other”.
PinkNews understands that some BBC staff have been told that attending events like Pride parades could, under certain circumstances, subject them to others questioning their impartiality.
Uproar online has focused on the BBC reportedly saying that Pride events could be attended, but not if they could be seen as “controversial” by, for example, including “trans issues”. The BBC was branded “institutionally transphobic” by a group of senior MPs and LGBT+ activists earlier this year.
According to iNews, an anonymous employee claimed they were told, in relation to the new guidelines, that “they could be issued with a formal warning or suspended from their job if they attend LGBT+ protests”.
In a statement emailed to BBC Pride members and seen by PinkNews, BBC Pride said: “We know that many of you are upset, distressed and confused about the new impartiality guidelines, and we want to be clear. Pride welcome all members of staff, and we stand with every member of our LGBTQ+ community.
“We know how important it is to get clarity on the new guidelines and what they mean for us as a group. We will be asking the director general and editorial policy to meet with us as a matter of urgency to discuss the situation, raise concerns, and gain clarity.
“We realise there are members who are concerned that they cannot support and advocate for their communities, for example, attending Trans Pride, and we want to hear from the senior leadership whether this is the case or not.
“We also know that there are some concerns around the definition of what is classified as ‘controversial’ within the guidelines and we want some clarification on this definition and its impact members of our community.”