Stonewall’s influence on BBC and Ofcom revealed

1 week ago 8

By David Thompson
BBC Nolan Investigates podcast

The grade of the power of LGBTQ foundation Stonewall successful nationalist bodies crossed the UK has been revealed successful a BBC investigation.

Governments, Ofcom and the BBC person had their impartiality questioned aft engagement successful the lobby group's diverseness schemes.

A fig of precocious illustration organisations person near Stonewall's schemes successful caller months amid increasing contention astir the power of the radical connected nationalist policy.

Stonewall says it works for LGBTQ equality and that it is "deeply disappointing" that this tin inactive beryllium thought of arsenic controversial.

Stonewall operates 2 schemes which person travel nether scrutiny successful caller months. The "Diversity Champions" programme is simply a work Stonewall provides to employers for a fee, to counsel them connected diverseness and inclusion. The Workplace Equality Index is simply a nationalist ranking of organisations, which is scored by Stonewall, and does not necessitate a interest to enter.

The Nolan Investigates podcast sought accusation connected the schemes nether Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. The accusation contained wrong the documents revealed what the lobby radical was asking organisations to bash to amended their ranking connected the Workplace Equality Index.

Some organisations, including the BBC, refused to merchandise the accusation connected the grounds that it could "have a detrimental interaction connected the commercialized gross of Stonewall".

Stonewall declined to instrumentality portion successful the series.

Ofcom 'scoring points'

The documents uncover that the media regulator Ofcom submitted rulings it had made against broadcasters to Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index, which awards points to organisations based connected however good they are performing connected LGBTQ equality.

Ofcom had initially defended the narration with Stonewall, saying it lone related to interior staffing issues, earlier leaving the Diversity Champions Scheme successful August.

However, Ofcom continues to taxable accusation to the Workplace Equality Index. Stonewall scores companies and nationalist bodies based connected however good they judge they are performing connected LGBTQ equality.

For 3 consecutive years, the lobby radical asked Ofcom to amusement grounds of enactment they had done to "promote LGBT equality successful the wider community". Ofcom cited examples of enactment they had taken successful effect to complaints astir TV programmes including Harry Hill's TV Burp and section vigor stations.

In 2019, Ofcom told Stonewall "we person ruled connected 2 instances wherever transphobic comments made successful programmes breached the code". One specified lawsuit referred to a vigor presenter who said helium would beryllium uncomfortable with his six-year-old girl changing successful an situation wherever the changing rooms were not segregated based connected sex, and described a "transfeminine person" arsenic "him, her, him, it" - for which helium had apologised connected air.

The regulator besides cited a 2016 judgement connected a re-run of Harry Hill's TV Burp connected the UKTV tv transmission Dave, successful which the programme parodied a Channel 4 documentary called The Pregnant Man. Ofcom had recovered the programme was successful breach of its broadcasting code.

Image caption, An extract from Ofcom's submission to Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index

Ofcom did not merchandise the feedback it received from Stonewall.

Ofcom told the Nolan Investigates podcast that determination was nary struggle of involvement successful its narration with Stonewall, contempt "stepping back" from Stonewall's Diversity Champions Scheme aft considering whether determination was a struggle of interest.

Ofcom said: "Broadcast standards decisions are made by the Broadcast Standards squad wrong Ofcom, wholly independently from immoderate 3rd parties. Our information successful the Stonewall Equality Index has nary bearing whatsoever connected immoderate of our broadcasting standards decisions."

Ofcom volition proceed to taxable to Stonewall's Workplace Equality Index scheme, saying it "is an effectual mode for employers to measurement their advancement connected LGBTQ+ inclusion successful the workplace".

BBC 'working closely' with Stonewall

The BBC did not merchandise the accusation requested by Nolan Investigates astir its submission to Stonewall's schemes.

However, the programme has raised questions astir however adjacent the BBC's Diversity and Inclusion section was to Stonewall. Diversity and Inclusion deals with interior staffing issues astatine the BBC.

Concerns person been raised for immoderate clip from elder BBC editorial figures astir the risks of the narration with Stonewall.

Stonewall played a cardinal relation successful an interior BBC "LGBT Culture and Progression report" by "identifying strengths and weaknesses" for the BBC with regards to LGBT diverseness and practices. "Weaknesses" included the lack of an Allies programme. Allies programmes are acceptable up with grooming from Stonewall erstwhile the organisations are Diversity Champions.

In January 2020 the BBC told unit they would "be moving intimately with Stonewall implicit the coming months successful mentation for adjacent year's [Stonewall] index".

Media caption, Nancy Kelley: "I’m comfy with our absorption arsenic an organisation"

The podcast reveals that a elder fig successful the Diversity and Inclusion section described Stonewall arsenic "the experts successful workplace equality for LGBTQ+ people" successful interior correspondence, successful effect to questions astir the BBC's Allies scheme.

Concerns person been expressed astir Stonewall being regarded arsenic "the" experts, fixed the diverseness of sentiment among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender radical implicit Stonewall's policies.

The section runs an "Allies training" course, which was acceptable up successful conjunction with Stonewall, to supply guidance to staff. In an Allies grooming meeting, BBC trainers utilized connection and worldly astir enactment and sex which is contested. The "genderbred person" - a graphic utilized by groups similar Stonewall to explicate enactment and sex issues - was presented to staff, with nary alternate views presented.

The Nolan Investigates podcast understands that the Diversity and Inclusion section had a relation successful the drafting of the latest BBC News benignant usher astir issues of sexuality and gender. The benignant usher sets a modular for the connection utilized by BBC News, often successful contested areas.

The papers defines homosexuality arsenic "people of either enactment who are attracted to radical of their ain gender". This is akin to the explanation utilized by Stonewall, and antithetic from the modular dictionary definition, successful that it defines attraction arsenic based connected sex alternatively than sex.

These definitions are astatine the centre of a fierce statement implicit enactment and sex issues. The papers was yet signed disconnected by BBC News.

Sam Smith, an investigative writer who near the BBC precocious aft moving determination for 25 years, told the podcast she thinks that immoderate radical wrong the BBC are frightened to talk retired to accidental what they truly deliberation astir Stonewall.

She besides believes the narration has had an effect connected the corporation's output.

"How tin it not person a chilling effect erstwhile it is writ ample crossed the BBC that we are a [Stonewall] champion. I can't deliberation of thing other that the BBC has done that's successful the aforesaid shot park."

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, The foundation has campaigned for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights since 1989

She says: "The occupation is the impartiality constituent of this, for radical who bash not hold with Stonewall's campaigning presumption connected the sex individuality issue, it is not bully for an organisation to align itself with Stonewall and Stonewall's mission".

She said she had queried the BBC's usage of "political" and "campaigning" connection but was told "the BBC had checked this with Stonewall and Stonewall were good they were good with it and truthful the BBC was good with it".

The BBC did not instrumentality portion successful the podcast. In a statement, they said that the BBC "acts independently successful each our aspects of our operations, from HR argumentation to editorial guidelines and content".

"We are not a subordinate of Stonewall, we bash not instrumentality ineligible proposal from Stonewall and we bash not subscribe to Stonewall's campaigning. The foundation simply provides proposal that we are capable to consider.

"As a broadcaster, we person our ain values and editorial standards - these are intelligibly acceptable retired and published successful our editorial guidelines. We are besides governed by the Royal Charter and the Ofcom broadcasting code."

In a statement, Stonewall told the Nolan Investigates podcast: "It is wholly mean and due for charities to prosecute with nationalist assemblage organisations to advocator for their beneficiaries to amended nationalist policy. It is besides wholly mean and due for charities to enactment nationalist assemblage organisations done work provision.

"We are arrogant of enactment to enactment nationalist assemblage organisations to make an inclusive workplace for their LGBTQ+ employees. Our guidance to employers supports them to recognize the needs of their LGBTQ+ employees and make an inclusive workplace civilization done their policies and wider activity."

The Nolan Investigates podcast besides examines changes successful the connection utilized by governments crossed the UK aft Stonewall requested changes, and looks astatine the proposal provided by Stonewall to nationalist bodies.

The Nolan Investigates podcast is disposable on BBC Sounds

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