Former Panorama reporter Raphael Rowe told colleagues he felt diversity at the BBC is "worse than I've ever known" on his last day at the corporation.
Yesterday, Press Gazette reported that Rowe had been "pushed out" of the corporation taking redundancy after 15 years.
- January 14, 2021
- January 11, 2021
- January 7, 2021
BBC News staff were said to be "incredulous" after his departure. And the National Union of Journalists said in a statement: "We lament this further reduction to the BBC's already woeful diversity – particularly its on-air diversity in News – with his departure."
And Rowe made similar criticisms in a leaving email sent to BBC News staff and seen by Press Gazette.
On 14 January, Panorama editor Ceri Thomas invited his staff to attend a meeting with head of BBC News James Harding at the beginning of the next week.
He said: "After the huge success of the Teenage Prison film we're in great shape: there may never be a better time to meet the boss.
"I'd come along and take advantage of that if I were you."
Rowe responded to the email, copying in his colleagues, by saying: "Sorry I can't be there tomorrow to represent the diversity of Panorama and TV current affairs – it's worse than I've ever known it under present management but I'm sure someone will be found from another department to boost the number – but today is my last day at the BBC…
"Yes despite 14 years of putting my life on the line for the BBC/ story – and one year of BBC redundancy oblivion – they have finally pushed me out – I did not take voluntary!"
He added: "The BBC is an amazing place to work and I'm proud of my time there and the difference a former undereducated, innocent prisoner from a poor working class background, with brown skin and dreadlocks (until recently) made and the inspiration I as a journalist gave to others like me and not so like me."
In response to the NUJ's diversity criticism of the BBC, reported yesterday by Press Gazette, a spokesperson for the corporation said: "We have a tough financial environment and must make savings. The closure of the four remaining staff roles at Panorama was announced back in 2014 and since then Raphael has been working on other assignments across the BBC. We are very sad to see him now leave the organisation.
"It is misleading to base our diversity record on one person’s circumstances especially when the proportion of BAME staff is at an all-time high. Panorama now works with a range of freelance and BBC News staff which means a bigger pool of reporters and more on air diversity."