The BBC’s fallen star, Reggie Yates, has resigned from hosting special editions of the BBC’s flagship music programme, Top of the Pops, on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
Mr Yates resigned following following pressure from Campaign Against Antisemitism and others after he remarked that it is “great” that the young generation is not “managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren”, adding that they were “idiots”, “dickheads” and not “your people”.
In a statement today, Mr Yates wrote: “On a recent podcast, during a discussion about grime artists, I made some ill-considered remarks which have hurt many people. I can see clearly that the words I used reinforced offensive stereotypes, and that there is no context which would justify such remarks. My comments are no reflection on how I truly feel, and I would like to apologise unreservedly to the Jewish community, people in the music industry and anyone else I have offended. This has been, and continues to be a huge learning experience for me, and on reflection I have taken the decision to step down from hosting Top of the Pops this year.”
A BBC spokesman added: “We take these issues very seriously and Reggie is in no doubt about the BBC’s view of his comments.”
This resignation is a major improvement on his previous apology for what he termed a “flippant comment” which “could have been interpreted” as being offensive. We had also criticised the BBC’s comment when Mr Yates’ remarks were exposed, after the BBC said that “we do not believe this is a matter for the BBC”.
The comments which caused such controversy came during a programme about grime music artists, which was recorded a month ago. He had said: “Like I said it’s about perspective. The thing that makes it great about this new generation of artists is that they ain’t signing to majors. They’re independent, they’re not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren. Wretch, Stormzy, Skepta, its all – you know what I mean – these are all people that we’ve all known, that we’ve all come up with, from time. So it’s amazing to see now the example isn’t get hot and then give all of your publishing to these idiots. Or go and give all of your rights to these dickheads over here. It’s now get hot, bring the family in, keep the family close, and win with your people. That’s the example now in music.” For many, Mr Yates’ comments will evoke the ugly stereotype of Jews as untrustworthy and money-grabbing. The comment was brought to light by Telegraph journalist Camilla Turner.
It is unclear whether Mr Yates will simply miss out on two holiday special editions of Top of the Pops, or whether the BBC will now act to remove him from programmes such as his forthcoming documentary on the Grenfell Fire tragedy. Clearly someone who sees fit to voice such views and only apologises when caught out should not be presented by the BBC as a role model for young people.
— Campaign Against Antisemitism (@antisemitism) November 22, 2017
BBC: Reggie has nothing to do with us
Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC 2: “@RegYates has developed into a brilliant filmmaker with an exceptional ability to listen. Reggie’s film will explore the lives of the people whose lives changed forever that night.”https://t.co/kSwVKetSYr pic.twitter.com/NJfuOWwI1E
— Campaign Against Antisemitism (@antisemitism) November 23, 2017