Lenny Henry says new BBC chair should understand the importance of diversity and inclusion


LENNY HENRY has told The Guardian that the new BBC chair should be someone who understands the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Former Telegraph editor Charles Moore is alleged to be Boris Johnson’s favourite for the next Chairman of the broadcasting company.

Many including a Tory MP have commented that Moore’s history of racist, homophobic and islamaphobic commentary and license fee evasion make him unsuited to the role. 

Lenny Henry starred in the BBC’s iconic “The Lenny Henry Show” from 1984-1988; one of Black Britain’s TV sketch-shows.

Since then, he has become a pioneer in the diversification of British TV and Radio. 

Henry told the Guardian: “I think it is important that the public record of anyone being considered for key public appointments is scrutinised. That is the role of the media and key public institutions.

“I sincerely hope the process will lead to the appointment of someone who recognises the importance of diversity, inclusion and representation both in front and behind the camera.”

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In a 1992 article he wrote for The Spectator, Moore said: “The Korean sets up the grocery store which the black then robs: that is the caricature which modern America recognises.

“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.”

He also said that “black youths” in the UK and US present “an aggression and defiance and indifference to normal moral and social constraints which frighten them”. 

In 2015, Moore wrote in a Telegraph article that: “a large Muslim community in a non-Muslim country produces more political disturbance, more communal tension, more intolerance of other faiths (and of non-faiths) and more terrorism…”

A spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain told the Guardian: “Islamophobia in the public space cannot and should not be further entrenched by elevating someone like Charles Moore to the helm of the BBC”. 

Peter Tatchell, a veteran gay rights activist said: “Given his notorious homophobic views, Charles Moore is unfit to chair a public service broadcaster. The BBC is bound by equality law, but he apparently does not believe in equal rights for the LGBT+ community.” 

In 2013, Moore wrote about the same-sex marriage bill: “I wonder if the law will eventually be changed to allow one to marry one’s dog.”

Some have responded to Moore’s rumoured appointment on social media:

The appointment of Moore as BBC chair has coincided with reports that former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre is being considered for chairman of Ofcom.

Just earlier this year, Nadine White, Huffpost UK journalist revealed that dozens of current and former Black BBC employees labelled the corporation as institutionally racist. Many have since pleaded for an investigation into the BBC addressing the claims. 

Charles Moore has yet to comment. 

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