Belfast Telegraph

BBC guest in apology after using racial slur live on air

BBC Broadcasting House on Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue
BBC Broadcasting House on Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue
Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

The BBC has apologised after a commentator on Good Morning Ulster used the n-word live on air.

The racial slur was said by agriculture expert Richard Halleron during a segment on the potential culling of 45,000 dairy cows in Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Halleron said: "Northern Ireland is more than self-sufficient, certainly where dairy and beef is concerned. We as part of the UK, feed the rest of the UK. But the n****r in the wood pile would be imports..."

The commentator continued speaking for several seconds before presenter Karen Patterson cut him off.

"Okay, Richard. I think we're going to leave for now, we're going to have to apologise for that turn of phrase that you used during your answer there," she said.

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Halleron said he did not mean to offend anyone.

"It was a live radio interview. I do not have a racist bone in my body. I can't even remember saying it and If I offended anyone I am truly apologetic," he said.

Several listeners took to social media to express their shock.

One wrote on Twitter: "Just heard a commentator on Good Morning Ulster make a horrendous racial slur while talking about culling cows in Northern Ireland. Couldn’t believe my ears! I can imagine the host's shock! They swiftly dealt with him."

Another said: "A section on culling cattle, nothing controversial here."

In a statement, BBC Northern Ireland spokesperson said: “We issued an on air apology to listeners at the end of the interview.”

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