The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reportedly suspended DJ of Indian origin from its Asian Network after the emergence of WhatsApp groups littered with obscene remarks about women as well as racist comments against Pakistanis and staff members of Pakistani origin.
Radio host Tommy Sandhu, 40, was one of four colleagues allegedly part of WhatsApp groups sharing sexist comments as well as homophobic remarks and derogatory terms for Pakistanis.
One of the group members allegedly made obscene remarks about Amy Elizabeth Childs, a BBC radio producer, while objectionable sexist comments were also made about Amanpreet Kaur, a young assistant producer and other female staff at Asian Network, a radio station catering specifically to British Asians.
Kaur stumbled across the messages after they were accidentally linked to a BBC laptop.
In lieu of the discovery, the BBC has opened an investigation and taken disciplinary action against some of the individuals who were part of the group, which include Asheesh Sharma and Kejal Kamani, two radio producers who routinely join Sandhu on air, and a disc jockey known as DJ Sachy.
It is not known yet if all the men made comments or if some were just part of the groups.
Sharma has been given a final written warning and Kamani has been fired, while DJ Sachy, a freelancer, has been told he will not get any more shifts.
Sources close to Sandhu claim he did not make derogatory comments himself and was simply part of WhatsApp groups where some of the remarks were made, according to the Daily Mail.
The London-born host is currently fighting to save his job at the BBC, where he is also an occasional host of The One Show and BBC1’s religious and current affairs show Sunday Morning Live!
The WhatsApp groups were also used to make racists remarks against Pakistanis.
According to insiders, one of the men suggested they refuse to play any music by Pakistanis on the breakfast show even though the network was set up to cater to all Asian groups. Another message referred to BBC entertainment reporter Haroon Rashid as a ‘Paki’. When one of the men did some work with Noreen Khan, another BBC Asian Network DJ, they were asked on the messaging group ‘have them Pakis converted you?’, according to sources.
Moreover, the groups were also used to make vile homophobic slurs, calling one colleague a ‘batty boy’ and another a derogatory South Asian term for a homosexual.
The matter came to light within the last week and has sparked alarm within the BBC which is still reeling from backlash from staff and public over the huge pay disparities for men and women, and for white and non-white stars which were revealed last week.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘We never comment on matters concerning any individuals working with the BBC. Any allegations of inappropriate behaviour would always be taken extremely seriously and would be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.’
The BBC Asian Network has an audience of nearly 650,000 listeners a week, according to latest figures.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.
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