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BBC denies DUP claims Adams was 'let off the hook' over n-word row

By Noel McAdam

The BBC has firmly rejected DUP claims of letting Gerry Adams "off the hook" over his use of the n-word in a tweet, for which he has apologised.

Senior DUP members went on the warpath against the corporation yesterday as the row over the Sinn Fein president's social media post went on.

Former Executive minister Edwin Poots said on Facebook: "Thus far the Bias Broadcasting Corporation has totally let Gerry Adams off the hook for his racist comment. I have no doubt if this had been a leading DUP member we would have had wall-to-wall coverage."

Veteran former councillor Myreve Chambers agreed, and added: "The BBC is so anti-unionist it is unbelievable."

More: Gerry's bye-ball an own-goal for Radio Ulster

A BBC statement said: "Since this story broke BBC News NI has covered it across local and network BBC News outlets.

"Coverage has been detailed, proportionate and judged on its editorial merit.

"We strongly reject any suggestion of bias."

Martin McGuinness said yesterday that his party leader had made an "honest mistake" - but added that it was not a term he would have used himself.

More: Gerry Adams N-word tweet: 'I've never seen myself as white I’m a human being, we’re all human beings, whatever our skin colour'

The Deputy First Minister said: "I do think it was an inappropriate way of trying to make what is a valid point in terms of his very strong stance over many years against injustice and against discrimination.

"No, I wouldn't have said it, certainly not, but Gerry's human, just like the rest of us. We all make mistakes."

As the fallout from the row continued, Mr Adams said: "I've never seen myself as 'white'. That's only skin deep. I'm a human being.

"We're all human beings, whatever our skin colour, whatever our gender, whatever our ability or disability."

More: Gerry Adams n-word storm: For black people it is never just a word, it is real and ongoing offence

The Louth TD added that if anyone should be offended over his tweet, it would be the people of Ballymurphy, where Mr Adams is from.

The Sinn Fein president was watching Quentin Tarantino's violent western Django Unchained when he issued a message to his 110,000 followers saying: "Watching Django Unchained - A Ballymurphy N*****!", followed by a second tweet saying: "Django - an uppity Fenian!"

In several statements and a Press conference on Monday he argued he was drawing a comparison between the treatment of black people in the United States with the penal laws of the 19th century, partition and discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland in the 1960s over voting, housing and jobs.

Yesterday he said: "I was comparing the African Americans to people in Ballymurphy.

"So if anybody should be offended, it's the people from Ballymurphy.

"Because if you read the tweet, I was describing Django, who was the main character, as a 'Ballymurphy n-word' and 'an uppity Fenian'.

"It was inappropriate, I'm sorry that I used it. People of my own home district, Ballymurphy, have stood up for themselves.

"And people in Louth, whether it's water protesters - not trying to compare like with like - or demanding health services, or fighting for the hospital to be returned to Dundalk, or better services in Drogheda, people standing up for themselves or their neighbours.

"And while they may not be like with like because, obviously, if you're being horsewhipped or hanged, that's a different matter. But in terms of the dignity of human beings."

Belfast Telegraph


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