The BBC has made controversial changes to its sexual orientation section and there is backlash about the lack of a ‘heterosexual’ option.
Controversy at the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has found itself embroiled in controversy yet again, as its recent diversity survey sparked ridicule and criticism among its own staff.
The Diversity Survey
The diversity survey in question circulated among staff from the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), a group of BBC-funded journalists working in regional news organizations, omitted the category ‘heterosexual’ under the sexual orientation section.
The Included Options
Instead, the options provided included ‘bi/bisexual’, ‘lesbian/gay woman’, ‘gay man’, ‘other sexual orientation’, and ‘prefer not to say’.
This glaring omission sparked backlash, as it seemingly implied that heterosexual orientation was not worth acknowledging.
The Staff Expressed Their Thoughts
Confused and amused LDRS staffers took to social media to express their bewilderment at the oversight.
LDRS reporter Jamie Shapiro posted an image of the question, asking followers to “spot the missing option.”
BBC Didn’t Clarify
Although the BBC acknowledged the error, it failed to rectify the situation adequately.
Just Tick the “Other” Box
Instead of issuing an amended survey, the LDRS advised staff who had not filled out the survey to tick the ‘other sexual orientation’ box.
This move raised eyebrows, as it seemed to undermine the significance of heterosexuality as a valid sexual orientation.
Gareth Johnson, Conservative Member of Parliament for Dartford, criticized the oversight, saying,
“This is quite an oversight. All that money is spent on diversity officers and they overlook the fact that some people are straight. Remarkable really!”
There Were More Incidents
This incident is not an isolated case within the BBC’s history.
The organization has faced several controversies related to its approach to diversity.
In 2021, the BBC withdrew from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions program after the charity’s CEO equated gender-critical beliefs with antisemitism.
It Was an Embarrassing Action
The BBC’s decision to quit the diversity program with Stonewall was considered an embarrassing climb down, especially given the organization’s efforts to promote inclusivity.
Social Media Users Shared Their Views
Several social media users expressed their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “As it should be… such nonsense and very invasive… whatever happened to privacy and what has it got to do with the workplace…..”
Another user wrote, “Are there no laws in the UK designed to stop people being marginalized on the basis of so-called “protected characteristics”?”
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