A recent Variety investigation has uncovered a mass exodus of women of color from the British Broadcasting Company’s staff. The publication reports that at least 15 women of color have walked away from the network in the past year due to the frustration of working within an environment that doesn’t support diversity. Most of the employees who have left the network have come from the news and D&I departments. “The newsroom within the BBC has a significant issue [with women of color],” says a woman of color who is a former BBC journalist. She asked to remain anonymous.
Several employees have spoken off the record for fear of repercussions in the workplace. They spoke candidly about trying to survive in a workplace where they feel as if they are not seen or heard. “When you know that nobody around you thinks like you, understands your weekend and your social life, they don’t understand anything about you,” one employee said. Another employee recounted microaggressions she experienced during her time working at BBC, including being confused with other women of color who worked in her department. She adds that she has had to ask a white male colleague to send emails on her behalf after her messages were ignored.
A BBC spokesperson responded in a statement: “As an employer, we are committed to being welcoming and inclusive, where people can thrive regardless of background, but if some individuals have had a negative experience we always want to hear about that and learn from it. We have long-established processes in place for people to raise any concerns internally.” The spokesperson went on to say, “More broadly, the BBC is committed to reflecting and representing the diverse audiences we serve both on and off-air, and we are delivering on industry-leading plans to make this a reality, which is why we have grown our Diversity & Inclusion team in recent years.”
Variety’s investigation found that many of those who are leaving the network are “experienced, unshowy people who are actually really good at their jobs, and who spend their entire career driven by public service,” as one source noted. On the bright side, most of the women who are leaving have been able to leverage their experience at BBC to move on to opportunities with network competition.“Nobody left without a better opportunity,” a former employee told Variety.