BBC Head Denies Trying to Fire Humphrys, Muzzle Staff
October 7, 2005 at 7:40 AM (PT)
BBC Director General MARK THOMPSON is calling a report that he and Chairman MICHAEL GRADE had tried to fire BBC RADIO 4 "TODAY" host JOHN HUMPHRYS over critical remarks the host made about LABOUR PARTY leaders in a speech "preposterous."
The denial came in response to a NEW STATESMAN report that said GRADE had pressured THOMPSON to fire HUMPHRYS and was upset when THOMPSON chose to reprimand but not fire the host. THOMPSON, e-mailing his staff, called the report "malicious" and any suggestion that the network is silencing talent to please the government "completely false and, indeed, utter nonsense," saying that he and GRADE had been awaiting a transcript of the speech. The NEW STATESMAN's editor JOHN KAMPFNER, who wrote the article, says he stands by the story.