Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been taken off-air for a week after he was caught on mic calling Conservative MP Steve Baker a “c**t”.
Guru-Murthy interviewed the Northern Ireland Minister in a pre-record for Channel 4 News on Wednesday evening, and the pair had what the journalist later described as a “robust” exchange.
After the interview ended, Guru-Murthy, who was outside Downing Street, continued to speak to the MP, who was inside Parliament.
“It wasn’t a stupid question Steve – you know it,” he said. I’m very happy to go up against you on Truss any day.”
After chuckling to himself, Guru-Murthy said: “What a c**t.”
It was not broadcast on Channel 4 News but a clip of the exchange, which was on a livestream, found its way onto social media.
Guru-Murthy tweeted an apology to Baker soon after going off-air, saying: “After a robust interview with Steve Baker MP I used a very offensive word in an unguarded moment off air.
“While it was not broadcast that word in any context is beneath the standards I set myself and I apologise unreservedly. I have reached out to Steve Baker to say sorry.”
But Channel 4 said in a statement on Thursday lunchtime that this was not enough to resolve the breach of its code.
“Channel 4 has a strict code of conduct for all its employees, including its programming teams and on-air presenters, and takes any breaches seriously,” it said.
“Following an off-air incident Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been taken off air for a week.”
Guru-Murthy will not return to Channel 4 News before 4 November due to a pre-existing week of leave.
In an earlier interview with Times Radio, Baker said that sacking Guru-Murthy would be a “service to the public” if he was found to be in breach of his code of conduct.
“I had an interview earlier with a journalist I don’t have a great deal of regard for who I felt was misrepresenting the situation through the construction of his question, which I called out, I think live on air, or I thought it was a pre-record,” he said.
“And he clearly didn’t like that, quite right, too. But I’d be quite honest, I spent a long time live on air, calling him out on his conduct as a journalist and glad to do so any time.
“But it’s most unfortunate that he’s sworn on air like that. If it’s in breach of his code of conduct, I do hope they sack him – it would be a service to the public.”
Responding to Guru-Murthy’s tweet, Baker later said: “I appreciate you apologising. Thank you.”
Guru-Murthy has worked for Channel 4 News since 1998 and became its main anchor this year following the departure of Jon Snow.
Picture: Channel 4
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