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BBC reporter Sima Kotecha cancels live broadcast in Leicester after being subjected to racist abuse

11 May 2020 Daily Mail Online

A BBC journalist has expressed her 'fury' after a planned live broadcast from Leicester city centre had to be pulled following an incident of racist abuse.

BBC News reporter Sima Kotecha was moments away from going live with a reaction piece to Boris Johnson's address to the nation last night when a man began shouting 'terrible things' at her, her guests and her production team.

The planned broadcast from Leicester was pulled from BBC News following the incident - which has left colleagues 'appalled'.

A spokesperson for the BBC, who confirmed the incident would be reported to the police, said the team pulled the live broadcast fearing the man's racist language would make it on air. 

Ms Kotecha, who has in the past reported from Helmand Province during the Afghanistan conflict and recently from Rome at the height of Italy's coronavirus crisis, took to the Twitter to vent her anger over the incident.

The journalist, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, said: 'Apologies - but a man shouting terrible things at me has ruined it for everyone. I'm afraid not going to make it on the special programme.'

BBC News reporter Sima Kotecha was moments away from going live with a reaction piece to Boris Johnson 's address to the nation last night when a man began shouting 'terrible things' at her, her guests and her production team

In a follow-up Tweet, she said: 'Apologies to our guests who we had to send home without putting on air after myself and team were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour - sad obstruction of reporting of a national crisis.'

She added: 'Yes I’m furious.'

Ms Kotecha received hundreds of messages of support, including from fellow Channel 4 journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Location, Location, Location star Kirstie Allsopp.

The latter said: 'You have every right to be absolutely furious, I’d be incandescent. What a vile experience.'

Another supporter said: 'I cannot tell you how ashamed I am that it happened in Leicester. But then it only takes one idiot to spoil it for the majority.

'I hope Leicester Police investigate and find those who abused your guests and you.'

The BBC Press Team has also tweeted in support of Ms Kotecha and promised to report the incident to the police.  

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In a statement, on Twitter, they said: 'While preparing to broadcast, our reporter, her production team and guests were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour.

'We are appalled by what happened and will be reporting the incident to the police. We will not tolerate racism or abuse of our staff.'

A spokesperson for Leicester Police said the force was aware of the incident but had no further details at this time.

The force's Chief Constable, Simon Cole, responded to Ms Kotecha's tweet and encouraged her to report the incident to his team. 

Ms Kotecha was born and raised in Basingstoke, Hampshire, and later studied journalism at Goldsmiths University in London.

She began her career in local BBC radio 2003 and has since worked on some of the BBC's biggest shows, including Panorama, Radio 4's Today Programme and BBC News.

Ms Kotecha has reported from Helmand Province during the Afghanistan war, the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010 and Lebanon during the Syrian refugee crisis.

Yesterday's incident of racist abuse took place in Leicester, which is one of the UK's most multicultural cities.

A 2011 census showed less than half of the city's population to identify as 'White British'.

The city has one of the largest Asian population's in the UK and is also home to significant African, Caribbean and Eastern European communities.

Original Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8306819/BBC-reporter-Sima-Kotecha-cancels-live-broadcast-Leicester-subjected-racist-abuse.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490

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