Nicola Sturgeon reveals a stomach-churning email where the BBC praises white supremacist Steve Bannon

Nicola Sturgeon and Steve Bannon

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has revealed part of an email where the BBC seems to praise white supremacist Steve Bannon. Sturgeon received the email after she pulled out of a BBC co-hosted conference, saying it risked:

legitimising or normalising far right, racist views.

There may well be substance to such a claim. In July 2018 for example, former Donald Trump strategist Bannon told a meeting of the National Front in France that attendees should wear accusations of racism as a “badge of honour”.

In an attempt to convince Sturgeon to attend News Xchange2018, the BBC emailed her office. And Sturgeon has tweeted some of the contents:

Appeasing a white supremacist?

The BBC upheld Bannon as a “powerful and influential figure” and characterised him as “anti-elite”. But Bannon, former chairman of Breitbart News, stands accused of promoting and participating in racism. For example, Bannon’s ex-wife issued a sworn statement in 2007 accusing Bannon of antisemitic remarks. The statement, which Bannon denies, claims that the far-right figurehead had problems with sending their daughters to certain schools because of antisemitism:

the biggest problem he had with Archer is the number of Jews that attend. He said that he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats’ and that he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.

The BBC is co-hosting the event in Edinburgh where there will be a special edition of Question Time. Today programme editor Sarah Sands is also reportedly lined up to interview Bannon.

Under Bannon, the far-right media site Breitbart ran headlines such as “Political correctness protects Muslim rape culture” and documenting “black-on-black” violence.

The site has also said flying the confederate flag isn’t racist; suggested being Black is an ‘advantage’ and argued: “gay rights have made us dumber”.

With such views in mind, Sturgeon accused the BBC of running the risk of “normalising fascism” through inviting Bannon onto mainstream platforms.

Sturgeon wasn’t alone

On social media, others agreed:

Novara Media editor Ash Sarkar also pulled out because of the inclusion of Bannon:

We must surely view the BBC’s decision to platform, interview and characterise Bannon as “anti-elite” in the wider context. While harbouring the far right, our public service broadcaster routinely ignores minority voices such as Palestinian advocacy groups. Such an imbalance of reporting is especially dangerous.

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Featured image via The RSA/ YouTube and Real Time with Bill Maher/ YouTube

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