BBC Determines Presenter “Broke Impartiality Rules” During Discussion On Transwomen Chess Players

One of the BBC’s highest profile news presenters broke rules on impartiality by referring to transgender women as “males” live on air, the corporation has determined.

Justin Webb, one of the anchors of the flagship radio news Today programme, was holding a discussion in August 2023 on whether male-born transwomen chess players had an advantage over female-born women competitors.

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During the debate, Webb referred to “transwomen, in other words, males”.

Now The Sun reports that the corporation has determined the presenter broke impartiality rules pertaining to reference of sex and gender. The paper reports that the BBC’s editorial complaints department came to the conclusion after investigation that the radio presenter “gave the impression of endorsing one viewpoint in a highly controversial area.”

The Sun adds that the BBC also received 287 complaints about another recent news story, when it covered a report claiming that trans women’s milk was as good for babies as breast milk from biological women.

A statement was issued later by a BBC spokesperson: “The BBC’s style guide states we should generally use the term and pronoun preferred by the person in question, unless there are editorial reasons not to do so. In this case, Justin accepts it would have been more accurate to use the term biological male.”

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