BBC Tells White Applicants It Only Hires ‘Ethnic Minority Backgrounds’

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

Britain’s public broadcaster, BBC, is telling young people who are not from “ethnic minority backgrounds” not to apply for its 12-month trainee positions.

BBC, the world’s largest broadcasting company by number of employees, is aggressively trying to make its workforce more diverse with racial and gender quotas. A number of white applicants for trainee positions are accusing the company of racial discrimination after the company replied that it was only open to ethnic minorities.

“It’s just wrong and as far as I know it is illegal. Coming from the BBC, it’s amazing,” a 26-year-old white male applicant told The Daily Mail Thursday. “If you applied for a position and got a reply saying it was only open to white applicants, you would quite rightly not be happy. This is exactly the same.”

The applicant holds a degree in media relations and said it felt unfair to be excluded from one of the most prestigious jobs available in the field because of his skin color.

“Opportunities like this hardly ever come up,” he said. “Of course there was no guarantee I would have got the job, but to be told I wasn’t even allowed to apply because of the color of my skin was appalling.”

BBC announced its new racial and gender quotas in late April, after a push from the British parliament to show more diversity on air. (RELATED: BBC: 1 In 6 People On Air Will Be Gay Or Disabled By 2020)

The quotas state that half the workforce, both on- and off-screen, have to be women. The number of blacks, Asians and other ethnic minorities will be 15 percent, and one in six — 16.7 percent — will be gay, lesbian or disabled. This could theoretically leave just 18.3 percent for straight, white males to be on air. A person who falls into multiple categories, such as an Asian lesbian, would of course increase the window further.

BBC said the rejections were part of a move to address “under-representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in script editing roles.” The company said the job listing was issued under the Equality Act 2010, and clearly cited that it was only open to minorities.

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