BBC presenter steps down over anti-Semitic comments

A BBC radio personality resigned after making offensive and anti-Semitic comments on a show last month.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

A BBC radio personality is stepping down from his show after making offensive and seemingly anti-Semitic comments during a show earlier this year.

Reggie Yates announced Tuesday he is stepping down from hosting special editions of the BBC’s flagship music program, “Top of the Pops,” on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve after referring derogatorily to Jewish music industry managers as “fat” and “random.”

Yates was a guest on the Halfcast Podcast a month ago, and during a discussion about the “grime” music genre, Yates said that “the thing that makes it sick about this new generation of artists is that they aren’t signing to majors, they are independent.”

Yates then said, “[The artists are] not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north-west London, they’re managed by their brethren,”  adding that Jews were “idiots,” “dickheads” and not “your people.”

Yates published an apology on Twitter in which he stated that he “made some ill-considered remarks which have hurt many people.”

“I can see clearly that the words I used reinforced offensive stereotypes, and that there is no context which would justify such remarks,” he added.

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He said his comments have no reflection on how he “truly” feels, and apologized “unreservedly to the Jewish community, people in the music industry and anyone else I have offended.”

“This has been, and continues to be a huge learning experience for me, and on reflection I have taken the decision to step down from hosting Top of the Pops this year,” he concluded.

A BBC spokesman stated: “We take these issues very seriously and Reggie is in no doubt about the BBC’s view of his comments.”

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), a UK based anti-Semitism watchdog, said that ” this resignation is a major improvement on his previous apology for what he termed a ‘flippant comment’ which ‘could have been interpreted’ as being offensive.”

The CAA had criticized the BBC’s initial response when Yates’ remarks were exposed, in which the BBC said that “we do not believe this is a matter for the BBC.”

It is unclear whether Yates will simply miss out on two holiday special editions of Top of the Pops, or whether the BBC will now act to remove him from other programs.

“Clearly someone who sees fit to voice such views and only apologises when caught out should not be presented by the BBC as a role model for young people,” the CAA said.