The BBC has been hit with more than 18,600 complaints over the use of the n-word in a TV news report.
The racial slur was used on 29 July by social affairs correspondent Fiona Lamdin, who repeated the n-word in a report on what police believe to have been a racially-motivated hit-and-run attack on a young NHS worker in Bristol.
While relaying what frightened witnesses allegedly heard the perpetrators shout as they fled, Lamdin, who is white, narrated in a pre-recorded segment: “Just to warn you, you’re about to hear highly offensive language, because as the men ran away, they hurled racial abuse, calling him a n*****.”
It is the second-most complained about incident since the BBC began using its current system in 2017. Only Emily Maitlis’s monologue about Dominic Cummings on Newsnight in May received more, with 23,674.
Responding to the complaints about the use of the n-word, the BBC said: “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.”
It added: “These are difficult judgements but the context is very important in this particular case. We believe we gave adequate warnings that upsetting images and language would be used and we will continue to pursue this story.
“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 offence.”
The BBC has also received a further 417 complaints about Lucy Worsley citing the n-word in a history programme that aired on the same week. Worsley has since apologised.