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Dan Walker says he felt he should have spoken out over Naga Munchetty row

He told the Radio Times that the “BBC should have given a more robust defence of their presenters”.

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Walker said that he waited to comment on the row ‘out of respect’ for Munchetty (Ian West/PA)

Walker said that he waited to comment on the row ‘out of respect’ for Munchetty (Ian West/PA)

Walker said that he waited to comment on the row ‘out of respect’ for Munchetty (Ian West/PA)

BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker has said he felt he should have spoken out in support of his fellow presenter Naga Munchetty over comments she made on air about racism.

Munchetty was previously judged to have breached BBC editorial guidelines when she discussed comments made by Donald Trump after he told female Democrats to “go back” to their own countries.

While the ruling was later reviewed and reversed by BBC Director-General Lord Tony Hall, Walker told the Radio Times that the “BBC should have given a more robust defence of their presenters”.

Tony Hall Steps down
The ruling was later reversed by Lord Hall (Ben Stansall/PA)

He added: “We do think it could have been dealt with very differently.

“It was the right decision to overturn the original finding, but it didn’t need to get that far.

“Both of us felt we sailed near the line but we didn’t cross it.”

In the July 17 broadcast, Munchetty had said that “every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism”, adding: “I’m not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean.”

Naga Munchetty controversy
Walker has defended his fellow presenter Munchetty (Peter Byrne/PA)

Walker also described criticism of the US president as “telling”.

Speaking to the magazine, Walker defended the pair’s discussion during the programme, saying: “Breakfast isn’t the 10 o’clock news.

“We are there to share a bit of ourselves, and maybe we shared a bit too much.

“At the time it felt a very natural conversation.

“We knew in that moment that it was different to the sort of things we usually talk about.

“But I don’t regret it, and I don’t think Naga does either.”

Walker was speaking to the Radio Times (Radio Times/PA)

He added that these comments are the first time he has spoken about the incident “out of respect for Naga”.

He said: “I asked her at the time if she wanted me to speak about it. She was at the centre of this storm.

“I felt I should have said something in support of her, but she didn’t want any more attention.”

He added that following the incident, he wrote to Lord Hall saying: “If Naga is guilty, then I’m guilty.”

Read the full interview in the Radio Times.

PA