BBC journalist called ‘paki’ by Brexit supporter

Published: June 29, 2016
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PHOTO: BBC RADIO 4/ TODAY via Independent

PHOTO: BBC RADIO 4/ TODAY via Independent

A high-profile BBC reporter has become the latest target of racist abuse after a string of anti-immigrant xenophobia was reported to police following Friday’s EU referendum result.

Sima Kotecha, a reporter for BBC Radio 4 Today programme, was racially abused in her home town of Basingstoke during a discussion with an unnamed man about Brexit.

Kotecha had visited the Hampshire town to ask why voters there chose Brexit. Fifty-two per cent of residents had voted to leave the EU in a result mirroring the overall percentage of leave votes across the UK.

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In a report broadcast on Tuesday, a man in a Basingstoke pub was heard using the racially offensive term, ‘Paki’, while explaining why he was pleased about the referendum result.

“I think all the immigrants, they should leave the country, you know what I mean?” the man told Kotecha.

When asked if he was referring to Eastern Europeans living in Britain, he replied, “Yeah, like I’m not saying Pakis as, like, I’m saying like all of them.”

Kotecha then asked if he had indeed said ‘Pakis’, to which he replied, “No, I don’t mean – sorry love.”

When told the term was offensive, the man said, “Yeah I know. No, I didn’t mean to come across… it’s all them … they’re not foreigners. We all bleed the same, we’ve got the same heart, just different coloured skins, you know what I mean?”

However, when asked if he didn’t like Asians, the man insisted that he did like them and denied that he was racist. “I know I used Paki but I could come up with more offensive [words], you know what I mean? I’m not like that. I’m not racist at all in any shape or way.”

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Following the incident, Kotecha tweeted, saying, “In utter shock: just been called p**i in my hometown! Haven’t heard that word here since the 80s..!”

Many took to Twitter, condemning the use of the word.

Labour MP Paula Sherriff also tweeted saying the abuse was “absolutely shocking”, adding that she was aware of similar incidents near her.

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Another Labour MP, Alison McGovern, called the abuse “absolutely horrific”.

After the outpouring of support, Kotecha tweeted again saying she was proud to be British.

This article originally appeared on Independent

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (20)

  • Insider
    Jun 29, 2016 - 2:29PM

    Pakistanis should brace themselves because our Indian friends are at full swing to run a hideous, latent campaign of spreading hatred, propaganda against them after Brexit. Recommend

  • Qasim
    Jun 29, 2016 - 3:27PM

    Whats wrong being called “Paki” and isnt it a short form of Pakistani ? Which is she or originally she’s from.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jun 29, 2016 - 3:49PM

    Many misunderstand and intertwine the terms Racism / BREXIT / immigration/ brown black skins / Muslims … To the best of my knowledge BREXIT has nothing to do with religion .Recommend

  • Rahul
    Jun 29, 2016 - 4:52PM

    @Insider:
    Just accept it. Nobody wants pakis in their country.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 29, 2016 - 5:04PM

    @Qasim:
    She prefers: “Stani” instead !Recommend

  • Cussin' Curamba
    Jun 29, 2016 - 6:38PM

    @Qasim: spot on mate; absolutely; what is indeed wrong? if people from britain can be called brits, people from pakistan can be called pakis. Totally agree with you.Recommend

  • Apoorv Swarup
    Jun 29, 2016 - 7:36PM

    Kotecha is a gujarati surname, so she must probably be of Indian origin, pity the fact that the bigots are so clueless they don’t understand difference in nationality and base their hatred out of ignorance and racist tendencies.Recommend

  • AllahDitta
    Jun 29, 2016 - 7:44PM

    @Rahul:
    LOL yeah well you can tell them you’re not a Paki, you’re an Indian and that will make a whole lot of difference!Recommend

  • Jun 29, 2016 - 8:17PM

    @Qasim: It is like calling an African a Black which under law is a crime.Recommend

  • Srehman
    Jun 29, 2016 - 9:21PM

    To all the ignorant people commenting on that’s it’s ok to call others Paki ,in British law it’s a RACIAL insult ,and you can be prosecuted for this offence ,Recommend

  • Woz ahmed
    Jun 29, 2016 - 10:48PM

    @Cussin’ Curamba:
    @Qasim:

    You need to understand the context , yes Paki in some lands is a neutral term, in the UK it is a derogatory insult.

    If you are Pakistani and someone calls you this, I assure you it’s not a positive gesture or positive recognition of your heritage.Recommend

  • Khilari
    Jun 30, 2016 - 12:03AM

    Offensive, biased, prejudiced and racist comment. Shows your mentality. @Rahul: Recommend

  • Afzal
    Jun 30, 2016 - 1:48AM

    Asian mainly Pakistani born in UK are racists to newer Pakistani coming to UK so everyone bad as each other Recommend

  • stevenson
    Jun 30, 2016 - 2:07AM

    @Apoorv Swarup: I just wish that Indians in the UK correct people and tell them that all the people who wear bindis and the like are really Indian. I am a Pakistani and I don’t mind being called Paki but I hate it when ignorant people call Indians, Sri Lankans and Bengalis Pakis too.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jun 30, 2016 - 5:11AM

    @stevenson:
    Well in the Oz Indians are called “Wobbleheads”…Recommend

  • Mahesh Desai
    Jul 1, 2016 - 12:19PM

    I think she is over reacting. Or knowingly playing race card. Is it not his ‘freedom of expression’?Recommend

  • Rustam
    Jul 3, 2016 - 11:42PM

    @Insider: You are right on the spot. They do not leave any such opportunity. Recommend

  • Rustam
    Jul 3, 2016 - 11:43PM

    @Qasim: Either you are ignorant or racist.Recommend

  • Rustam
    Jul 3, 2016 - 11:47PM

    @Qamar Valliani: Do you really need this veiled racist guy using a fake name?Recommend

  • Rustam
    Jul 3, 2016 - 11:56PM

    @Rahul: My freind, you are seen making racial comments frequently. If you really wish to serve your nation do some positive work. FYI, India had the highest number of people trapped in slavery at 18.35 million in the world, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index released by Walk Free Foundation on May 28, 2016. Instead of posing nose here and there should not you give some time and work for the so big number of poor slaves in your own country. Recommend

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