Police have confirmed they are investigating ‘racist and homophobic abuse’ sent to BBC journalist Ben Hunte.
Hunte, LGBT correspondent for the BBC, claimed on social media yesterday that he and his family received abuse after Laurence Fox shared a screenshot of his Twitter account with a post about defunding the BBC.
A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police said: ‘We are aware of a tweet posted earlier today relating to an allegation of abuse on social media.
‘We have received an initial report and officers will be contacting the complainant to take further details.’
In a now-deleted tweet, Fox, 42, wrote: ‘So glad I’m not paying for this anymore. @bbc @DefundBBC #DefundTheBBC’, attaching a screenshot of Hunte’s Twitter account.
Hunte shared on social media: ‘My family and I have been sent racist and homophobic abuse following the below screenshot of me being posted. I am fine – but I will let the police take over.
‘If you disagree with my job, or with the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, or with wider LGBT-related decisions I am not involved in, please do not contact my family with hate. Please use the BBC’s complaints process.
‘I am doing my job to the best of my abilities. I am proud of being a journalist and so grateful to those who share their experiences with me. Thank you.’
The 29-year-old was inundated with messages of support, with others criticising Fox for seemingly sparking the pile-on.
The Lewis actor later said he was ‘saddened’ by the abuse Hunte had received, tweeting: ‘Hey Ben, saddened to hear you have had abuse. It’s horrible and I know exactly how you feel. My view is that the @BBC is increasingly identitarian and divisive and should be defunded. I believe in people, not acronyms. Loz x #DefundTheBBC.’
However, the 42-year-old went on to retweet fellow BBC critic Calvin Robinson, who had tweeted: ‘Solidarity, Ben. Nobody should be the victim of racist and homophobic abuse. You seem to have attached the wrong screenshot, though? This one doesn’t show any homophobia or racism. Unless you’re saying that a straight white man can’t disagree with you publicly?’, adding: ‘Amen.’
Fox also responded to journalist John Simpson, who wrote: ‘Deeply depressing that my excellent colleague, the BBC’s LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte, should have received racist and homophobic abuse in the wake of an unpleasant tweet by @LaurenceFox which talked about ‘defunding’ the BBC. Fox should know better.’
The star tweeted: ‘Hey John. Nice to meet you. Do you believe the @bbc should have a dedicated LGBTQ correspondent? Where do you stand on safe spaces for biological females? Do you have a position on trans children? Really interested to have a discussion.’
Following Hunte’s tweets, the BBC issued a statement reading: ‘We won’t tolerate abuse and threats aimed at our journalists. They all stick to the BBC’s editorial standards – meaning they need to include a wide variety of viewpoints and voices in their reporting. This should never lead to personal abuse.’
They added: ‘We won’t hesitate to report abuse and threats to the police.’
Hunte was appointed as the BBC’s first LGBT correspondent in April 2019.
Credit: Original article published here.