Robert Peston Claims It's A 'Bonus' He Still Has A Show As A White Middle Class Man

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Robert Peston in Downing Street, London (Photo: Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images)
Robert Peston in Downing Street, London (Photo: Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images)

Robert Peston has claimed that keeping his career “as a white middle class male is a bonus” during a BBC podcast, as women and individuals from ethnic minorities are gradually getting more recognition.

ITV’s political editor and host of the weekly show, Peston, said he was more fortunate to make it in TV before the discrimination both women and people from ethnic minorities face started to become a mainstream issue.

Now this “terrible” imbalance was being addressed, Peston said there was more competition within every sector.

Speaking to the BBC podcast, Fortunately... with Fi and Jane, he said: “My great uncle used to say, ‘every day that I wake up is a bonus’ and quite often I think, ‘every day I keep my show as a white middle class male is a bonus.’

“I wonder, truthfully, if I were 30 whether all sorts of doors that were open to me then would be open to me today, because the competition is much more intense.

“We are looking for different things and we are looking for different voices, and that’s a really good thing.

“Everyone else [working on Peston] is a woman or person of colour. It is the best team I have ever worked with.

“They are phenomenally bright, creative and [it is] just a transformed working environment for the better.

“I am astonishingly fortunate to do what I do.

“As soon as people thing I am not there on merit, I guess I’ll have to go.”

Peston speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo: BERTRAND GUAY via Getty Images)
Peston speaking to Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Photo: BERTRAND GUAY via Getty Images)

Peston certainly left some people online puzzled, as his industry is often said to be dominated by “white middle class men”.

According to data from the 2020 Labour Force Survey, 92 percent of journalists come from white ethnic groups. This is higher than the average proportion across all UK workers, which stands at 88 percent.

The findings also suggest 75 percent of journalists have at least one parent in one of the three highest occupational groups, one of the factors thought to define social class.

But the same survey found 53 percent of journalists are women, compared to 47 percent of men – for the UK as a whole, the statistics are reversed.

Some Twitter accounts hit out at Peston for his claims, saying “he made a very unfortunate analogy”, although others did acknowledge the journalist’s “self-aware” comments and questioned if there was a “problem” in ITV’s headquarters.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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