BBC hit with more than 600 complaints for calling Irish actor Paul Mescal ‘British’

The BBC has published its latest complaints report, revealing that a total of 605 objections were made to the broadcaster’s mislabelling of Paul Mescal as “British”.

While reporting on the Irish actor’s Oscar nomination for Aftersun last week, BBC News showed text on the screen that said: “2023 Oscar nominations: British actors Paul Mescal and Bill Nighy are nominated for leading role.”

The corporation apologised for the mistake shortly afterwards, in a statement that read: “In text running across the screen we reported that Paul Mescal was one of two British actors who had been nominated for an Oscar for a leading role.

“The text should have said that Paul Mescal is Irish. We apologise for the mistake.”

Mescal, who was born in Maynooth, County Kildare, has previously had to correct the British press for getting his nationality wrong.

After making headlines when starring in the television adaptation of Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel Normal People in 2020, Mescal tweeted simply: “I’m Irish.”

Last week, Mescal’s sister Nell revealed that their mother has cancer and is getting ready to undergo chemotherapy treatment.

Paul Mescal in ‘Aftersun' (A24)
Paul Mescal in ‘Aftersun' (A24)

Dearbhla Mescal had a haircut on Tuesday 24 January “in prep for her chemotherapy”, the same day it was announced that Paul received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Reacting to her son’s nomination, Dearbhla told Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ that she found out the news through their family WhatsApp group because it was “too stressful” to watch the nominations live.