Fiona Bruce ‘ left to carry the can by her BBC bosses’
Question time producers left Fiona Bruce ‘carrying the can’ after she was accused of trivialising domestic violence, a former BBC executive has said.
Ms Bruce, 58, quit as an ambassador for domestic abuse charity Refuge this week after she intervened on thursday last week when a Question time panellist described stanley Johnson, father of ex-Prime Minister Boris, as a ‘wife-beater’.
Her actions on the show sparked a backlash and 854 complaints from those accusing her of not taking seriously enough the issue of domestic violence.
But Roger Mosey, the corporation’s former head of television news, said bosses could have edited her remarks out because the programme was prerecorded. Mr Mosey told Roger Bolton’s Beeb Watch podcast: ‘it’s an editorial question about what Fiona Bruce says.
‘And actually, if they’d seen it as being wrong, the second edison’s
‘Trying to correct balance’
tion of Question time, the one that goes out at 10.40[pm] is pre-recorded, and they would have had an option to have edited in some way. But Fiona got left carrying the can.’
Broadcaster nick Ross said this week that Ms Bruce had been subjected to an ‘extraordinary amount of aggression’ from other women over the incident when she had been ‘merely trying to correct balance’.
on last week’s show Yasmin Alibhai-Brown had said of Mr Johnson – who is claimed to be in line for a knighthood in his
resignation honours – that his alleged history of violence was ‘on record’.
Ms Bruce interrupted and said: ‘i’m not disputing what you’re saying, but just so everyone knows what this is referring to, stanley Johnson’s wife spoke to a journalist, tom Bower, and she said that stanley Johnson had broken
her nose and that she’d ended up in hospital as a result.
‘ stanley Johnson has not commented publicly on that. Friends of his have said it did happen but it was a one-off.’
she said later: ‘ i cannot change what i was required to say, but i can apologise for the very real impact that i can see it has had.’ the BBC said at the
time: ‘Domestic abuse is abhorrent, and we would never wish to suggest otherwise. When serious allegations are made on air against people or organisations, it is the job of BBC presenters to ensure that the context... is given to the audience. [Ms Bruce] was not expressing any personal opinion.’