Transphobia row at 'Radio Oscars' as BBC podcast slammed for investigating Stonewall

Nolan Investigates: Stonewall, a BBC production, explored the influence of the group over UK institutions

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The Aria Awards, known as the Oscars of the radio industry, is facing a boycott after a BBC investigation of LGBT rights group Stonewall was nominated for four awards.

Nolan Investigates: Stonewall, a BBC production, explored the influence of the group over UK institutions.

The podcast was nominated in four categories at the annual Audio and Radio Industry Awards (Arias), but the decision has faced criticism, with some describing the production as "openly transphobic".

A cohort of industry professionals feel the podcast is 'openly transphobic.'
A cohort of industry professionals feel the podcast is 'openly transphobic.'

A group of radio producers have called for the nominations to be dropped due to its "harmful nature".

Some production companies have also threatened to boycott the Radio Academy, the charity organiser of the awards.

In a letter to the academy, radio industry professionals accuse the Nolan Investigates podcast of "contributing to a harmful moral panic surrounding trans people".

Stephen Nolan explored Stonewall in the podcast, Nolan Investigates.
Stephen Nolan explored Stonewall in the podcast, Nolan Investigates.

The message also calls on the organisers of the event to "rectify the harm these nominations have caused".

BBC Ulster journalist Stephen Nolan explored the intricacies of Stonewall in the podcast, exploring the influence of the group on the BBC and Government departments.

Some institutions have distanced themselves from Stonewall after suggestions of them adopting an "extremist stance" on transgender issues and shunning gender critical views.

More than 150 radio industry professionals have now thrown their names behind calls for the nominations to be revoked, saying the podcast "perpetuates a narrative that creating a safe world for trans people is a divisive issue".

The BBC has faced scrutiny over its production.
The BBC has faced scrutiny over its production.

The cohort added the nominations should be dropped in the interest of "the safety and inclusion of trans people".

Freelancers in the industry who have worked with the BBC have signed the open letter, while production company Long Cat Media has announced it will boycott the Radio Academy unless the nominations are revoked.

Despite the demands, the Radio Academy refused to rescind any nominations in a meeting with Long Cat Media ahead of the Arias ceremony on Tuesday night.

The academy said: “At this year’s Arias, Stephen Nolan’s work has been nominated in four categories. Those four judging panels comprised 38 judges, which we can confirm included LGBTQ+ people.

"All panels reached their conclusions independently, based on the strength of the entry submitted.

“We’ve recently had conversations with a group of audio professionals concerned about the nominations, and we hear the issues they’ve raised.

"We thank the group for engaging with us in the way they have and look forward to further conversations with them to ensure the Radio Academy remains an inclusive place for everyone in the industry."

A BBC spokesman told The Telegraph: "Nolan Investigates: Stonewall was an important piece of investigative journalism. It looked at the role and influence of Stonewall on the work of many public bodies across the UK, and it facilitated an inclusive debate about the issues raised – all of which are matters of legitimate public interest.

"The series' Arias nominations are welcome recognition of its quality and worth."