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BBC blunder blamed on 'human error' after Naga apologised for 'insulting' flag mistake

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BBC Breakfast: Charlie Stayt pokes fun at Robert Jenrick’s flag

The 46-year-old BBC star recently came under fire for mocking the “size” of Housing Secretary Robert Henrick’s Union Jack flag during an interview. Naga laughed hysterically after Charlie Stayt remarked the British emblem was “just a little bit small” and “not up to standard size”. The BBC Breakfast presenters have since apologised after being “reminded of their responsibilities” by the corporation’s complaints department.

Naga took to Twitter to grovel for the blunder and admitted she also “‘liked’ tweets” that were “offensive in nature” about the use of the Union Jack as a backdrop.

The BBC pushed back against viewers complaints and branded Charlie’s snub a “light-hearted, off the cuff comment”.

They added: “No offence or disrespect was intended.”

The corporation also stated Naga and Charlie had been “spoken to” about their conduct and “reminded” of the “BBC’s impartiality and social media guidelines”.

BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

BBC Breakfast stars Naga Munchetty came under fire for mocking the ‘size’ of a Union Jack flag (Image: BBC / GETTY)

BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

Naga Munchetty covered her face to stifle her laughter after Charlie Stayt’s Union Jack comment (Image: BBC)

Many criticised the BBC for feeding into “woke cancel culture” by apologising for cheeky remarks and “silencing” their stars.

This isn’t the first time the corporation has landed itself in hot water over the alleged “censorship” of those in its employment. 

In October, social media guidelines were updated to prevent journalists making “expressions of opinion on social media”.

This was an attempt to abide by the BBC’s strict guidelines on impartiality and avoid accusations of political bias.

JUST IN: BBC’s ‘shameful censorship’ of Naga Munchetty slammed by Piers Morgan

BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

BBC Breakfast star Charlie Stayt mocked the ‘size’ of Robert Jenrick’s Union Jack on BBC Breakfast (Image: BBC)

Previously, former Good Morning Britain star Piers Morgan blasted the corporation for restricting employees from publicly stating their views.

It followed Naga being found to have “breached BBC rules” after comments about former US President Donald Trump in 2019.

During the BBC Breakfast report, she referenced the leader’s tweet to a group of young female Democrats, known as ‘The Squad’, who had called out Mr Trump’s immigration policies.

The politicians, who are all women of colour and US citizens, were told to “go back to the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.

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BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

Former BBC Director General Lord Tony Hall refused to uphold a complaint against Naga Munchetty (Image: GETTY)

Naga bravely spoke out against Mr Trump’s remark and stated that “as a woman of colour” she found it offensive.

She said: “Every time I have been told…. to go back to where I came from that was embedded in racism.”

Naga said she was “not accusing anyone of anything” but believed everyone knew “what certain phrases mean”.

The BBC condemned Naga after they concluded she had broken impartiality rules with her statement.

BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

BBC Breakfast blunder: Northern Ireland’s flag bears a cross, a crowned star and a hand (Image: GETTY)

After the corporation’s verdict, Piers branded the findings “shameful censorship” and “bloody ridiculous”.

He tweeted: “Since the BBC will gag my breakfast show rival @BBCNaga from saying anything about this, allow me…

“Her words were powerful & necessary. Shameful censorship.”

Later Lord Tony Hall, the corporation’s then-Director General, reversed a decision to uphold a complaint against Naga and stated: “Racism is racism and the BBC is not impartial on that topic.”

BBC criticised for flag ‘sneering’ by commentator

In another unfortunate slip-up, Naga was forced to apologise last year after a report used the wrong flag when discussing Northern Ireland.

The blunder happened while her BBC Breakfast co-star John Kay explained travel restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

They showed the Republic of Ireland’s flag, which contains green, white and gold stripes.

Northern Ireland’s flag, known as the Ulster Banner, has a red cross on a white background with a crowned six-pointed star and red hand at the centre.

BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

BBC Breakfast blunder: The Republic of Ireland’s flag has an orange, white and green stripe (Image: GETTY)

On Twitter, fans of the show fumed over the mistake including one user who couldn’t believe “the biggest broadcaster in the UK” made such an error.

The individual wrote: “You would think the ability to use the correct flag for one slice of the UK wouldn’t be too much of a problem. 

“You’ve insulted 1.8 million people. Clarification and an on-air apology for this blunder.”

At the end of the BBC Breakfast report, which aired in September last year, Naga commented on the slip-up.

BBC BREAKFAST NAGA MUNCHETTY FLAG UNION JACK TV UK

Naga Munchetty has been on BBC news shows, including BBC Breakfast, for around more than a decade (Image: GETTY)

She said: “Just before we go, we would like to apologise for a mistake we made earlier in the programme… we mistakenly showed the wrong flag for Northern Ireland.”

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster demanded an investigation into how the mistake happened and the DUP called it “disgraceful”.

At the time, the BBC told the Belfast Telegraph that “human error” was responsible for the “incorrect flag” being used and noted that they had “apologised on-air” for the mistake. 

BBC Breakfast airs from 6am on BBC One.



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