BBC Quits Controversial Stonewall Schemes Following Investigation Over Impartiality Over Investigation
The BBC has quit two controversial schemes run by Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ lobby group and charity, after an investigation by one of the corporations own journalists was launched.
The public service broadcaster has followed the media regulator Ofcom and Channel 4 by withdrawing from Stonewalls Diversity Champions programme and Workplace Equality Index.
The news comes after a 10-part investigative podcast of the BBC 5 Live journalist Stephen Nolan released examining the shady schemes that have influenced the editorial output of tv. Journalist David Thompson also contributed to the investigation.
The podcast was titled by Nolan and Thompson, questioned whether the BBC was too close to Stonewall, providing numerous instances of internal policy and editorial output that appeared to violate the corporations impartiality guidelines, and the Equality Act 2010, followed the communication with Stone Wall in connection with these schemes.
The podcast was the culmination of an eighteen month investigation, and quickly became the top of the iTunes and Spotify charts after its release last month and garnered numerous headlines and comments from parliament members.
While the BBC restated its commitment to LGBTQ+ employees, it confirmed it has now left the scheme.
The BBC is committed to being an industry-leading employer on LGBT+ inclusion, the corporation said in a statement. We are proud of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans colleagues and support them to have fulfilling careers at the BBC.
In partnership with many other U.K. employers, the BBC participated in Stonewalls Diversity Champions Program to support our aim to create a fully inclusive workplace. However, over time, our participation in the programmes has led some to question whether the British government can be impartial when reporting on public policy debates where Stone is taking an active role.
We believe it's time to step back from Diversity Champions programme and to not participate in Stonewalls Workplace Equality Index.
The Royal Charter and Ofcom Broadcasting Code govern as always, and they continue to report to the full range of perspectives on stories.
Despite the fact that the BBC will not renew its participation in Diversity Champions programme, in the future we will continue working with various external organisations, including Stonewall, on relevant projects to support our LGBTQ+ staff.
In June, Channel 4 also announced that it was pulling out of Stonewalls diversity scheme while Ofcom quit the scheme in August.
Numerous public bodies, including the Department of Health and the U.K.s Equality and Human Rights Commission, announced they were withdrawing this year from the scheme.
Stonewall told Variety that the BBC has decided not to renew their Diversity Champions membership, but as with all membership programmes, organizations come and go depending on what's best for their inclusion journey at the time. We continue to work with the RTCP on a variety of fronts to champion support for LGBTQ+ colleagues and to represent our communities through their reporting.