BBC presenter Lucy Worsley apologises for using n-word in history programme

Danny Thompson
·Contributor
·2-min read
OXFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 09:  Lucy Worsley, historian and television presenter, photographed at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival on April 9, 2016 in Oxford, England.  (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Lucy Worsley, historian and television presenter, photographed at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival on April 9, 2016 in Oxford, England. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

BBC history presenter Lucy Worsley has apologised after she faced a backlash for using the n-word in a programme broadcast over the weekend.

In a segment in American History’s Biggest Fibs With Lucy Worsley, which originally aired last year, Worsley quotes former US president Abraham Lincoln’s eventual assassin John Wilkes Booth as using the n-word.

But following a backlash on social media after the programme was repeated on BBC Two on Saturday, Worsley has apologised for using the slur.

Read more: BBC reporter used n-word in report on unprovoked racist attack on UK healthcare worker

The 46-year-old replied to a Twitter user: “You’re right, @therealpetraamp, it wasn’t acceptable and I apologise.”

The scene has also been addressed by the BBC, with a spokesperson stating: “This is a history programme about the American Civil War and features contributions from a number of African American scholars.

“Content information about the nature of the film was given before the programme started, and presenter Lucy Worsley gave a clear warning to the audience before quoting John Wilkes Booth as the term clearly has the potential to cause offence.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/05/12: Lucy Worsley, winner of Specialist Factual seen during the Virgin Media BAFTA Television Awards 2019 - Press Room at The Royal Festival Hall. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Lucy Worsley at the Bafta awards in 2019. (Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A separate use of the n-word by a BBC reporter in a news item also caused uproar last week.

A news segment featuring presenter Fiona Lamdin about a racially motivated attack on a black man saw the reporter use the word quoting the attacker.

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The segment led to 280 Ofcom complaints.

A BBC spokesperson said: “This was a story about a shocking unprovoked attack on a young black man. His family told the BBC about the racist language used by the attackers and wanted to see the full facts made public.

“A warning was given before this was reported. We are no longer running this version of the report but are continuing to pursue the story.”