BBC 'policed by transgender Pride network' as broadcaster accused of caving to demands

BBC Pride is reported to be exerting a greater influence over the broadcaster's content.
BBC Pride is reported to be exerting a greater influence over the broadcaster's content.

BBC's director general has been urged by staff to 'shut down' Pride networks at the corporation

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BBC director general Tim Davie is facing a spate of criticism amid suggestions that he is letting the transgender Pride network “police” the institution.

Davie has been urged by staff to “shut down” Pride networks at the corporation after a co-chair called for more influence over stories.

Insiders claim the director general has shown “incredible naivety” in allowing the BBC Pride and BBC Studios Pride networks expand among hundreds of staff.

Staff are now reported to have raised concerns directly to his office.

The broadcaster has been embroiled in a trans row after a fiery exchange between BBC Studios Pride’s co-chair Nathan Wren and science producer Malcolm Clark at the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers last month.

Mr Clark criticised the group’s influence on the corporation, accusing them of “policing” BBC’s output, stifling debate.

Mr Wren replied: “We only intervene, when, say, a trans subject is being covered and then we’ll press to ensure trans voices are being heard.”

Mr Clark argued that not even unions would wish to hold such editorial influence, to which Mr Wren stated: “We often ask for changes and they don’t happen.”

Staff are now calling for a crackdown on the group, with accusations of it being “homophobic” by undermining same-sex attracted people.

The BBC's previous ties with Stonewall have been blamed for the broad
The BBC's previous ties with Stonewall have been blamed for the broad

An insider told The Telegraph: “Many staff are fed up with the way BBC Pride’s influence undermines the BBC’s reputation for impartiality - Tim Davie needs to shut Pride down now before its influence undermines the BBC further.”

A perceived hangover from the BBC’s long-standing ties with contentious LGBT charity Stonewall has been blamed for the rise of the BBC Pride networks.

The BBC praised the group in a 2018 report on LGBTQ+ culture and progression, with a recommendation calling for BBC Pride to be “strengthened”.

The report was part-written by the chief of staff to the director-general and chairman Phil Harrold.

The group’s emboldenment was clear in June 2021 when leaked minutes of BBC Pride’s board showed they were playing a role in “editorial processes” on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, as well as demands to “attend commissioning meetings”.

A BBC spokesman said: “BBC Pride is a volunteer-led staff network which aims to support all LGBTQ+ staff. It is not an editorial team, has no role in directing editorial content and like the Telegraph Group’s ‘Out Loud’ LGBTQ+ network, our staff networks help ensure the BBC is an inclusive organisation.

“Editorial decisions about what the BBC broadcasts or publishes are made in accordance with our editorial values and standards, including our commitment to due impartiality.”