BBC Radio 6 apologises after Cerys Matthews plays song containing racial slur

Danny Thompson
·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 10:  Cerys Matthews attends the Jazz FM Awards at Vinopolis on June 10, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Jo Hale/Redferns via Getty Images)
Cerys Matthews at the Jazz FM Awards in 2015 in London, England. (Jo Hale/Redferns via Getty Images)

BBC Radio 6 listeners took to social media to blast the station after it played a song containing a racial slur.

The mistake happened during Cerys Matthews’s weekly Sunday show. The track in question was singer Thomas Fraser’s cover of the 1940 song The Mississippi Shore.

Matthews introduced it by saying: “Shall we take a trip, virtually anyway, to the Isle of Burra and it'll be around 1940s and 1950s and we'll be sitting on our in our croft after a busy day working the land or fishing.

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“And we'll have a reel-to-reel set up in front of us, we'll pick our guitar up, we'll press record and we'll start to sing this.”

In the song, the Scottish artist sings the the line "I can hear them d*****s singing. I can hear the guitars playing.”

UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01:  Photo of Cerys MATHEWS and CATATONIA; Posed group portrait with Cerys Matthews (2nd from right)  (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)
Cerys Matthews with her band Catatonia, with whom she became famous. (Mick Hutson/Redferns)

The station was later forced to apologise after angry listeners pointed out the lyric had aired on social media.

One person tweeted: "Was there a deeply inappropriate lyric in there? Or did I mishear?

They added: "I’m struggling with the line before the one about guitars .....

"I’ve just listened again on Spotify and it’s clearly what I thought. I’m sure it was a horrible error but a tweet of apology would be a good idea."

One person addressed Matthews and said: “Really uncomfortable with the racial slur in the lyrics of the record you just played On the Mississippi Shore. How did that get through?”

The former Catatonia singer responded: “Checking now-it shouldn’t have passed through of course. It’s a huge priority for me. Thanks for heads up.”

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She later added in another response: "It shouldn’t have got through. Trying to redact it now xx"

Radio 6 told Mirror Online: “Unfortunately an unedited version of this song containing an offensive term was broadcast in error on 6 Music. We apologise for any offence caused and will work to ensure this does not happen again.”