Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It seems the Beeb prefers pictures of white people...

Whilst browsing the football news on the BBC's website I noticed a story on the main football page. The headline is (or was depending on when you're reading this) "From turnstile to touchline - club gets female manager". Next to it was a picture of a woman:

However, anyone clicking the link will be presented with an altogether different image:

That is an actual picture of the woman featured in the article, the white woman that the BBC decided to use to lead the article is, as the caption reads "Cherie Lunghi played a female manager in TV drama The Manageress".

I find it troubling that the BBC has decided that the image that they will use to promote an article about a woman of colour taking charge of a football team on the football homepage is that of a white person only tenuously linked to the story. What message does this send to people reading it, a white person is a better hook for an article?

Really BBC, a white actor is more relevant than the person the story is about? Shame on you.

Now there may be those saying that I'm reading too much into this, but before you say it answer one question for me. Why did they use the picture of a white person when a picture of a person of colour would have been so much more relevant?

Addendum:[On a tangential note it was just last week that the live coverage of the second test between England and the West Indies included this line:

Sounds like a right shambles out in Antigua - fans still queuing down the street, sand all over the shop, scoreboards rubbered, people strolling in front of the sight-screens. These boys couldn't run a bath.

{To put it into context for those who don't understand what the problem is here are a couple of articles about it. (Well sort of about it.)}

I used the BBC's complaints service to voice my opinion to them. After which I received an apology and the assurance that my complaint was noted and the author had been reminded to be careful about what they say. It might not actually achieve anything but I think it's important to at least say something.]


  1. I would hope that the BBC have an internal inquiry to get to the bottom of what is in all likelihood an unfortunate misunderstanding. In all probability, the writer was unable to find a photograph of the subject and used a stock photo for an incon in its place and then later updated the article to include the correct photo, neglecting to change the icon.

  2. I'm sure it wasn't a conscious thing, but I would have hoped that someone at the BBC would have noticed the incongruity before now.

    I put a complaint in so hopefully they'll have something to say about it.