We would like to address an article published by the BBC on 9th June by Ben Hunte, Munroe Bergdorf: NSPCC cuts ties with transgender activist.

We have concerns about what this article demonstrates about the BBC’s priorities, particularly with regard to safeguarding children. The article leads the reader to believe the NSPCC removed Bergdorf for being transgender, and selects comments and tweets from Twitter suggesting that all the complaints to the NSPCC were “transphobic”.

The article failed to give any balance to the story in a way that must call into question the BBC’s understanding of child safeguarding.

It failed to reference the well-publicised open letter sent from Safe Schools Alliance UK to Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC: If the journalist had read the letter, they would have found that the reasons for complaining about Bergdorf’s appointment were related to safeguarding issues. The letter set out several reasons why this particular person was unsuitable, including inviting children to get in touch directly, support of children performing as drag artists, and evidence of previous homophobic comments.

It is surprising and troubling that the BBC has chosen to ignore the concerns raised in this letter, and the numerous other comments and tweets along the same lines, given the BBC’s well-publicised past failures to ensure children’s safety.

Child safeguarding should always be prioritised over other concerns.

This piece breached most of the BBC’s own Editorial Guidelines including:

  • Impartiality: We will be fair and open-minded when examining evidence and weighing material facts. 
  • Editorial Integrity and Independence: The BBC is independent of outside interests and arrangements that could undermine our editorial integrity. 
  • Serving the Public Interest: We will be rigorous in establishing the truth of the story and well informed when explaining it. 
  • Fairness: Our output will be based on fairness, openness, honesty and straight dealing.
  • Transparency: We will be transparent about the nature and provenance of the content we offer online.

We call on the BBC to acknowledge the inaccuracies demonstrated in this article, and rewrite it to be balanced, fact-based and to demonstrate no undue pressures from political or personal interests.

To complain to the BBC about this article yourself please click here.

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