BBC Execs Fret over Party Video Spoofing Arabs
A company statement called the video "illjudged, and we will be speaking with those involved." This means that censorship now extends to private parties for the self-flagellating BBC. In forty years, hopefully Al-BBC executives will be just as abhorrent of anti-European jokes.
Reports the Evening Standard.
Members of the BBC London news team today face a grilling from senior bosses after they filmed a spoof video making light of the conflict in the Middle East.
The film, a skit on Peter Kay's (Is This The Way To) Amarillo? was made to mark the departure of assistant editor Simon Torkington who is going to the news channel Al-Jazeera International in Qatar with his wife, former ITV news anchor Shiulie Ghosh.
The joke video was shown at a private leaving party for Torkington - nicknamed "Storky" - last week. But a copy has been leaked to the Standard by a BBC insider angry that licence fee payers' cash was used to make a "tasteless" skit that could cause offence to Muslims.
BBC London journalists, including transport correspondent Andrew Winstanley and reporter Sarah Harris, are seen singing a spoof version of the hit song in tea towel head dresses and fake Arabstyle beards, to a video backdrop featuring real-life news footage of missile launchers, tanks and soldiers in gas masks.
BBC London special correspondent Kurt Barling - who has reported extensively on the issues facing Britain's Muslim community - appears bare-chested and dancing in a Muslim prayer hat. The re-jigged lyrics feature jokes about Osama bin Laden, the traditional Islamic jilbab dress and the Palestinian Intifada....
Although the video was never intended to be broadcast outside the BBC, sources say it calls into question the judgment of those involved at a time of heightened sensitivity among Muslim communities. One insider said: "At a time of great community sensitivities, is it right for the BBC's reporting team in London to be seen dressing up as stereotypical Arabs or Muslims, singing and dancing?...
In a statement, the corporation said: "The BBC was unaware of the nature of the content of this private and informal video as it was being made. A spoof of the well-known and much-parodied music video for Amarillo, this unofficial film is within the tradition of a teasing farewell to a departing colleague.
"It was made by his friends in their spare time and hastily put together. It was always intended solely for private viewing. Nevertheless, we think it was illjudged, and we will be speaking with those involved and learning the lessons that need to be learned."