This is what taking a stand looks like.
BBC radio presenter, Sideman, who is popular on Radio1Xtra’s airwaves announced via Instagram he is quitting his job. The on-air radio personality revealed he no longer felt comfortable working for the company following its decision to allow white people to use the n-word on national television. In a video accompanied by the caption “I can’t look the other way,” the radio host and comedian born David Whitely said:
“We live in a world that needs to change, systems that need to change, organizations that need to change, and as a person that believes that change can happen and wanting change to happen. I understand transition, and I understand it’s not something can happen overnight.”
“There will need to be a lot of learning and unlearning and tearing down of certain building blocks of our society that took a long time to build-up. I am ok with process, I am ok with waiting within reason for certain things to change but the BBC sanctioning the N-word being said on National television by a white person is something I can’t rock with.”
“This is an error in judgment where I can’t just smile with you through the process and act like everything is ok,’ he continued. ‘I’m happy working with organizations until we all get it right, but this feels like more than getting it wrong. The action and the defense of the action feels like a slap in the face for our community, that’s why effective immediately I am leaving my job as a radio broadcaster for BBC 1Xtra.”
Sideman, whos show aired on Sunday mornings further added while he loved his job, BBC’s decision left him no choice in the matter but to leave.
‘I have loved my time there, and I’ve got work with some amazing people and made some lifelong friends and had great opportunities,’ he concluded. ‘But money and opportunity doesn’t outweigh the dissatisfaction I feel in this situation. This is wild to me, especially in the current social climate, and I can’t make any sense of it, no matter how much I think about it, so I think it’s time that I left.’
Speaking with Metro.co.uk, BBC responded in a statement revealing the company is saddened by Sideman’s decision to leave but will welcome him back if he decided to return.
‘Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously, we are disappointed that he has taken this decision. We absolutely wish him well for the future. The door is always open for future projects.’
They also doubled down on allowing the use of the slur on national television, which was met by 18,500 complaints.
“We have listened to what people have had to say about the use of the word, and we accept that this has caused offense, but we would like people to understand why we took the decision we did. ‘This story was an important piece of journalism about a shocking incident. It was originally reported by some as a hit and run, but investigations indicated that racist language was used at the scene, and it was then treated by the police as a racially aggravated attack.”
“The victim’s family were anxious the incident should be seen and understood by the wider public. It’s, for this reason, they asked us specifically to show the photos of this man’s injuries and were also determined that we should report the racist language, in full, alleged to have been spoken by the occupants of the car.”
“Notwithstanding the family’s wishes, we independently considered whether the use of the word was editorially justified given the context. The word is used on-air rarely, and in this case, as with all cases, the decision to use it in full was made by a team of people including a number of senior editorial figures.”
“You are, of course, right that the word is highly offensive, and we completely accept and understand why people have been upset by its use. The decision to use the word was not taken lightly and without considerable detailed thought: we were aware that it would cause offense.”
Salute to Sideman.
Photo: Mark R. Milan / Getty