BBC anchor Naga Munchetty broke rules by criticizing Trump comments

The decision has prompted an outpouring of support for the presenter online.
Image: Naga Munchetty at The TRIC Awards at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London.
BBC News presenter Naga Munchetty.Keith Mayhew / Sipa USA via AP

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By Mo Abbas

LONDON — A BBC presenter broke the British broadcaster’s rules when she criticized President Donald Trump’s comments calling for Democrat congresswomen to “go back” where they came from.

Breakfast television presenter Naga Munchetty went “beyond what the guidelines allow for," a BBC spokeswoman said, when she likened Trump’s comments to racist abuse she had received in the past.

“Every time I have been told as a woman of color to go home, to back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism. Now I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean,” Munchetty said on July 17 in response to a series of tweets by Trump.

The tweets were seen as aimed at Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump tweeted on July 14.

Asked by a co-presenter how she felt about the comments, Munchetty said: “Furious. Absolutely furious. And I can imagine that lots of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it’s OK to skirt the lines with using language like that.”

No action has yet been taken against Munchetty as a result of the ruling.

The decision has prompted an outpouring of support for the presenter online, including from BBC staff.

“@BBCNaga⁩ always stands up for #BBC values, which include telling the truth and celebrating diversity. What’s more ‘we speak out when something is not right’. So how did her comments ‘go beyond’? Detail please,” tweeted former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie.

BBC correspondent Sangita Myska tweeted: “Right now, there is a lot of bewilderment among BAME (black, Asian, minority ethnic) staff.”

NBC News has approached the BBC for comment.

A BBC spokesperson quoted by BBC News said: "While Ms Munchetty was entitled to give a personal response to the phrase 'go back to your own country' as it was rooted in her own experience, overall her comments went beyond what the guidelines allow for."