Naga Munchetty's 'victory dance' as BBC overturns complaint against her
Naga Munchetty has broken her silence after the BBC overturned its decision to uphold a complaint made against her.
A viewer complained after BBC Breakfast reported in July on US President’s Donald Trump’s "go back home" tweet directed at four US congresswomen and Munchetty told with co-presenter Dan Walker she believed the comment was "embedded in racism".
Munchetty was found to be in breach of the BBC guidelines on impartiality but BBC director-general Tony Hall has overturned the decision.
Munchetty, 44, shared a video on social media of her singing along to Hold On by Wilson Phillips laughing to camera as she sang the lyrics: “Until then baby are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry. Don't you know? Don't you know things can change. Things'll go your way if you hold on for one more day.”
Read more: BBC overturns ruling against presenter Naga Munchetty
Lord Hall has written to all members of staff to clarify that there was no finding against Munchetty.
The message reads: "Racism is racism and the BBC is not impartial on the topic. There was never a finding against Naga for what she said about the President's tweet.
"Many of you asked that I personally review the decision of the ECU [the BBC's Executive Complaints Unit]. I have done so. I have looked carefully at all the arguments that have been made and assessed all of the materials. I have also examined the complaint itself.
"It was only ever in a limited way that there was found to be a breach of our guidelines. These are often finely balanced and difficult judgements.
"But, in this instance, I don't think Naga's words were sufficient to merit a partial uphold of the complaint around the comments she made.
"There was never any sanction against Naga and I hope this step makes that absolutely clear. She is an exceptional journalist and presenter and I am proud that she works for the BBC."
He added that the editorial and leadership teams have been asked to look at how the BBC manages live exchanges on air around topics of racism in the future.
When the decision against Munchetty's comments emerged, it sparked outrage, particularly as Walker had been involved in the conversation, and had asked his fellow presenter for her view on the tweet.
It is understood that the complainant was unhappy with the response to their initial criticism and appealed to the ECU, but then focused only on Munchetty's comments rather than Walker's.
In a statement made earlier today, a BBC spokesperson told Sky News: "The appeal to the ECU focused on comments by one presenter, but the statement from the executive team is clear - the BBC is not impartial on racism.
"Racism is not an opinion and it is not a matter for debate. Racism is racism. Naga has the very clear support of the top of the organisation."
The corporation has been heavily criticised for the decision, with a petition calling for it to be reversed attracting more than 80,000 signatures.
Sir Lenny Henry, comedian Gina Yashere and actor Adrian Lester were among a host of stars to write to the broadcaster branding its stance as "deeply flawed" and "illegal".
Elsewhere, the likes of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Chancellor Sajid Javid have also criticised the ruling and aired support for Munchetty.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom will also assess what was said.
Read more: 'BBC Breakfast' host Naga Munchetty: I have been told as woman of colour to 'go home'
In July Trump made reference to Representatives Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, suggesting they should “go back” to the countries they “originally came from” to fix their respective governments and crime issues.
"I've been told as a woman of colour to 'go home'..."@BBCNaga shares her experience as we discuss the reaction to comments made by President Trump. pic.twitter.com/u0HL5tEdgt
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 17, 2019
Discussing his comment on the BBC show in July, Munchetty opened up about her own experience of racial abuse.
“Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from that was embedded in racism,” she said.
“Now, I’m not accusing anyone of anything here but you know what certain phrases mean.”