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BBC says ‘1 in 6’ of staff must be LGBT or disabled

BBC says ‘1 in 6’ of staff must be LGBT or disabled

A new diversity strategy at the BBC aims to have a sixth of its staff be LGBT or disabled by 2020.

The announcement is a response to the accusation the broadcasting corporation is failing to reflect its audience.

Two of the BBC’s stars, Idris Elba and Lenny Henry, both called the BBC out for its lack of employee diversity.

The new program targets women and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) as well. The BBC said it hopes to have 50% female staff and 15% BAME by 2020: The figures are currently respectively 48.5% and 13.1%.

It has said however male- or white-dominated roles may still be commissioned, such as in period dramas.

One of BBC’s flagship channels, Radio 2, is due an ‘overhaul’ according to reports, due to its mostly white and male talent pool.

The BBC said Radio 2 was currently reaching only 12% BAME people, compared to 35% for all adults.

British MP David Lammy accused the BBC of ‘dragging its feet’ when it came to representation.

‘I am growing tired of strategies, of new approaches, of action plans, of initiatives and press releases,’ Lammy said in a speech at the House of Commons.

‘The net result of all of these strategies and initiatives is sadly very little.

‘Despite the good intentions, rhetoric has not been matched by real progress.’

In a statement, Tunde Ogungbesan, head of diversity, inclusion and succession at the BBC said it has come a long way, and has a long way to go.

‘Almost half of our workforce is made up of women and the proportion of our black, Asian and other ethnic minorities in our workforce is at an all-time high.

‘But there is more to do and we know the challenge we face so we’ll be building on this strong platform by continuing doing what works.’ 

‘David Lammy MP and other campaigners are clearly passionate about the issue. So am I. We all want to get the same result: a BBC where all our audiences can see their lives authentically portrayed in our programmes.’

The BBC was once called ‘hideously white’ by its own director, 15 years ago.