Jeremy Vine show hit with Ofcom complaints after 'race-baiting' claims

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 15: BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine on stage during BBC2 Radio Live 2019 at Hyde Park on September 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Jeremy Vine (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Jeremy Vine's show has been hit with more than a hundred complaints after the presenter pointed out that everyone going to Prince Philip’s funeral was likely to be white.

The broadcaster made the comment when he was talking about who was set to attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral on 17 April.

It triggered claims of “race-baiting” from some viewers and broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has now confirmed that it has received 139 complaints about the episode.

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During the episode, Vine said: “We are going to see a group of 30 people who are going to be at this very restricted funeral. I’m imagining it will be 30 people who are white. I’m just trying to think whether there’s anybody of colour in there and I don’t think so.”

“Do you think that’s a problem?” he asked broadcaster Shay Grewal, who was on the show via video link.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attends a ceremony to mark the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle on July 22, 2020.  The 99 year old Duke is stepping down from his role as Colonel-in-Chief after 67 years of service and is transferring it to Camilla,Duchess of Cornwall.
Prince Philip (PA)

Grewal responded to say she didn’t think it was.

“At the end of the day, the Royal Family are a family and so if someone passes away you are going to have your most beloved members of your family there," she pointed out.

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales (left), Princess Anne (right) in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture date: Saturday April 17, 2021.
Pall bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh (PA)

Many viewers were unimpressed with Vine’s comment.

“Jeremy Vine even manages to turn HRH Prince Philip’s funeral into a race issue,” said one person on Twitter.

“I’m so tired of this divisive narrative. Identity politics has taken over and it’s insidious.”

“What is wrong with Jeremy Vine - it’s a family funeral with only 30 close family attending! So what’s the aim on comments on the colour of the mourners?? Doesn’t help anyone but hey, anything for ratings! Just so poor,” said another.

“Only 30 ppl are allowed at a funeral & the only person of colour in the Royal family can’t attend so as the family is white the answer is pretty obvious, race baiting by vine & unacceptable,” said another.

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“Can't believe that a small (not very private) family funeral is being turned into a debate about the ethnic mix of mourners by Jeremy Vine,” tweeted another.

Jeremy Vine at the Cirque du Soleil Luzia Press Night at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Jeremy Vine (SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Another viewer said it was "race baiting pure and simple".

Prince Philip passed away on 9 April at the age of 99. His funeral was held in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle last Saturday.

Yahoo has contacted Channel 5 for comment.

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