BBC radio presenter loses his job over bigotry remark

BBC radio presenter loses his job over bigotry remark

Iain Lee has lost his job as a presenter for BBC Three Counties radio after calling an anti-gay Christian group representative ‘a bigot’ during a debate on homophobia.

Lee made the comments to Libby Powell, a lawyer for the Christian Legal Centre, who was appearing on breakfast show to defend homophobic Pentecostal preacher Barry Trayhorn who had read out verses from the Bible condemning homosexuality during a service at a prison.

The presenter described the passages, and Libby’s belief in them, as “homophobic” and “bigoted” during a heated debate.

He asked her “Do you support bigotry?” and, when Libby defended her stance, said:

You’ve chosen not to question it, because you’re a bigot.

The BBC confirmed that Lee had left the station.

Iain Lee will no longer be presenting his shows on the station but we want to take this opportunity to thank him and wish him well for the future.

The BBC issued an apology over the “slur”,  and Lee Iain apologised on air.

Last week I interviewed the Revd Barry Trayhorn and solicitor Libby Powell about their understanding of biblical teaching on homosexuality. I want to make it clear that I apologise for any offence that may have been caused over the way I conducted the interviews.

The BBC admitted the interview had been “at several points inappropriate” and said:

The BBC – and Iain Lee himself – wish to apologise for any offence that may have been caused.

The on-air row arose from Reverend Barry Trayhorn’s reading of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6, Verses 9-11 at HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire in May 2014.  He was working as a gardener at the prison.

Trayhorn subsequently said he felt “compelled” to resign from his job and brought a case of constructive dismissal.

Hat tip: Andy Brown

34 responses to “BBC radio presenter loses his job over bigotry remark”

  1. Stephen Mynett says:

    No surprise that the BBC will side with the bigots, you only have to listen to a lot of the odious drivel spouted on Thought for the Day, which is considered fine by the BBC but ask them to allow a reasoned Humanist thought and they will tell you to get stuffed.

  2. L.Long says:

    Where in the buyBull does it say being gay is an abomination!!!!
    Ya! I know Liv-it-i-cus! But it don’t say so! It must be interpreted because the buyBull writers & rewriters & re-rewriters were stupid and could not say anything in straight language. And since it is interpreted I can interpret it anyway I wish.
    Since I do women in reverse cowgirl, and guys in doggy style, I do not violate the Leviticus.
    It is just bigots-Ya they are bigots- interpreting as they wish in accordance with their personal bigotry!!

  3. Lensman says:

    Ian Lee is absolutely right. All religeons are by definition bigoted, racist, xenophobic, divisive, homophobic, self-serving blah, blah, blah, but we musn’t say it. My ex wife became a Johovahs Witness. She caused me and our children all sorts of problems. I fucking hate all religeons with equal passion.
    That’s the second time Ian Lee has had to ‘resign’. He upset Channel 4 viewers on “The 11 ‘0 Clock Show’ back in the Nineties. Keep up the good work Ian!

  4. JohnMWhite says:

    Fuck the BBC. I can’t really summon a more rational or appropriate response than that. As they fall over backwards to ‘respect the views of others’, they reek of special pleading. He was talking to people who think homosexuals deserve to die and then fry forever and the BBC are apologising for the interviewer calling this what it is – bigotry. It shows exactly what the BBC think – that challenging Christianity’s vindictive doctrine is much more distasteful than a pathological hatred for homosexuals.

  5. John the Drunkard says:

    Bob Smith will not longer be reading the weather forcasts on the BBC. As he offended listeners by describing water falling from the sky ‘as ‘rain.’

  6. Newspaniard says:

    If I were a lawyer, I would be queuing up to represent this guy for unfair dismissal. But what do I know?

  7. Stephen Mynett says:

    “If I were a lawyer, I would be queuing up to represent this guy for unfair dismissal.”

    Judging by past records of cases taken on by the Christian Legal Centre there is a good chance anyone or thing would win a case against them.

  8. Angela_K says:

    Andrea shit for brains-Williams and her fellow bigots at christian concern are crowing over this success in preventing people from speaking the truth. The BBC are of course obsequious cowards when it come to all religion; how dare any one expose religion for the hateful nonsense it is.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    ‘…we want to take this opportunity to thank him and wish him well for the future.’

    Me too. Thank you, Iain Lee. The world needs more people like you who are willing to stand up and expose these vile hate-mongers for what they really are.

  10. Broga says:

    The BBC is controlled by a religious Mafia which censors, controls and sacks those who exercise free speech: the very thing the BBC should be defending and exercising. We know that on this site, or at least some of us do, but other innocents listen to the BBC trusting it and not realising the extent of the religious propaganda.

    Our politicians appear not to give a toss.

  11. Stephen Mynett says:

    Iain Lee’s problem was calling a bigot a bigot, had he committed a lesser crime, say shagging her under-age son or daughter he would probably have got away with it. The Bible Bashing Crapheads seem to be able to ignore some things.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Lensman: All gods were originally tribal gods, and that fact is demonstrated quite clearly in the history of religion. The members of different religions cannot even agree amongst themselves as to what their fundamental beliefs are, and reserve special hatred for those who “interpret” their faith in a slightly different way (which I experienced first-hand amongst the Plymouth Brethren).

    I used to enjoy The 11 O’Clock Show, though Iain Lee wasn’t the best thing about it; it introduced many of us to Daisy Donovan, Mackenzie Crook, “Ali G”, and Ricky Gervais (always guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers amongst the PC brigade and others lacking the sophistication to spot satire when they see it) amongst others.

  13. Ivan says:

    Complain or make comments to the BBC on the link below.

    It’s formatted and very easy. Request a response and if it’s a blandishment simply ask for it to be escalated and publish a copy here for ridicule and further complaints.

    Also forward the link for others to do the same.

    Remember, this happened because Christian Concern whipped up complaints and the BBC collapsed. It’s the least we can do for Iain Lee to spend a few minutes in order to make the BBC suffer a little for their cowardice.

    Don’t get mad, get even.

  14. AgentCormac says:

    Thanks for the link. The following complaint has been duly submitted.

    I strongly object to the sacking of Iain Lee after his interviews with Reverend Barry Trayhorn and Libby Powell of the Christian Legal Centre. By highlighting the homophobic views of these two people Iain was reflecting the prevailing and widely held societal opinion that those who discrimnate against others based on sexuality are indeed bigots. Just because Trayhorn and Powell use religion as the basis for their prejudice makes their opinions no less obnoxious or poisonous. Had these views been expressed on political rather than religious grounds I’m sure Iain Lee would now be being praised for his remarks rather than out of a job. Similarly, had the views of Trayhorn and Powell been aimed against an ethnic minority rather than gay people I am equally sure it would have been the interviewees rather than the interviewer who were now being vilified and asked to apologise. Bigots are bigots and should be exposed as such. It is therefore unacceptable for the BBC to remove support from one of its own team and put the religious sensitivities of people who openly despise and discriminate against others first. Iain Lee should be reinstated and the BBC, together with Reverend Barry Trayhorn and Libby Powell, should be doing the apologising.

  15. barriejohn says:

    AC: I don’t see how that could be improved upon. Why on earth did Iain Lee feel the need to apologize?

  16. barriejohn says:

    An incomplete list of CLC cases is to be found on Wikipedia. Please loosen belt before reading if you are not already acquainted with their astounding success rate!

  17. AgentCormac says:


    I’m sure he was probably coerced by the BBC into pandering to the bigotted bastards.

  18. barriejohn says:

    For those still wondering where the CLC gets the money to fund all this legal activity, the following may be of interest:

    #Some wonderful Christian initiatives. You ‘ve got to hand it to the Evangelicals, they get stuff done.

    #Laurence, they get stuff done all right.

    Like having pharmacist’s (chemist’s, I believe in England) assistants legally refusing to dispense properly and legally prescribed birth control pills or devices to women, because it’s the Christian thing to do to use your position to impose your particular Christian doctrine on your female neighbor.

    Or, scaring the populace into believing that if the State starts granting civil marriages to same-sex couples, the police and the FBI will smash down the doors of churches that don’t grant religious same-sex marriages, because it’s the Christian thing to do to malign, impugn, and lie about your GLBT neighbor.

    I don’t recall any teaching of Jesus about having the State not discriminate against you, but go ahead and use the State to discriminate against others.

    God help England!

  19. John Humpf says:

    Did the BBC protect Jimmy Saville, and indeed sort beatify him, with their Christmas Special after he died, because he was a catholic?

  20. Cali Ron says:

    AC: Well said.

    barriejohn: Thanks for the link. It was reassuring to read all the cases where those nutters at the CLC had lost. From the second link I noted this gem ““with a robust biblical framework that guides their thinking, prayers and activity in addressing the issues facing our society”. Is that another way of saying indoctrination?

    As Hitch said, “religion poisons everything”.

  21. Stephen Mynett says:

    Looks like we can expect more tidal waves, earthquakes, floods etc to blame the gays for and, for that matter, the Irish:

    The bigots at the CLC wont know which case to lose first when they get called to Ireland.

  22. Lensman says:

    @barriejohn. I agree, Ian Lee wasn’t particularly funny but he was a very enthusiastic host and yes, it did introduce some interesting new talent.

    I have a Born again Christian sister in law who, when my 15 year old son was 2 and had slightly longer hair usual, would turn out gay if it wasn’t cut. Unfuckingbelievable. My response was one word. Samson, which of course went over her head, or indeed through it as obviously it was empty.

  23. barriejohn says:

    Lensman: You’re not going to believe this, but when I spoke about the unalloyed contempt that the religious have for those who differ from them on the minutiae of their stupid belief systems, one all-consuming bone of contention amongst the Plymouth Brethren was the length of people’s hair, and whether one should have fellowship with “meetings” which allowed long-haired young men, or women with “short hair” (no definition available), to “break bread”. One prominent member walked out of an assembly which I attended one Sunday morning, along with all his supporters, and set up (and built, as he was a well-to-do businessman) his own chapel, because they wouldn’t allow his daughters to preach! Is it any wonder that I eventually came to look upon them all as pathetic, deluded buffoons?

    And as regards Samson; it is quite possible that zealots like John Baptist and Jesus had long hair, as they may well have been Nazarites. (Certainly, Jesus had no association with Nazareth, which was not a city at all in his era, despite excavations showing “the very houses that he might have visited”!)

  24. barriejohn says:

    Ricky Gervais takes us through a children’s book about Noah:

    “I believed in all this until I was…eight”!

  25. […] Barry Duke at The Freethinker tells us: […]

  26. Cali Ron says:

    Noah’s ark is one of my favorite bible stories to point out the stupidity of some of the bible stories. The “finding of the ark” is a recurring story in American tabloids which always makes me laugh. Yes, that’s right, 2 of every animal on earth in that little ark. Must have been a bitch cleaning out all those stalls

  27. Stephen Mynett says:

    I seem to remember a former Apollo astronaut going in search of the Ark – Mount Ararat in Turkey was a popular place at one time, good for the local tourist industry I suppose. My worry was that someone who was unhinged enough to believe that sort of crap was not in the best mental state to drive something as powerful as a Saturn V rocket.
    I agree about Noah’s ark being a favourite story, it highlights two of the main themes of the book, stupidity and genocide.

  28. Cali Ron says:

    For god so loved the world he wiped out every human except Noah and family, but spared the animals. Add in the other cases of shock and awe, scorch and burn tactics the Israelite’s practiced with god’s blessing and his love is looking pretty toxic.

    Here’s a link to a National Geographic story about one of the recent expeditions to have claimed to find the ark:

  29. Lensman says:

    Barriejohn:actually I do. Nothing surprises me with the religeous. They are all bonkers.
    There is an ironic twist to the long hair making you gay saga. Her son, who is now grown up, has very, very long hair and is straight.
    I don’t know how she Sleeps at night.

  30. Stephen Mynett says:

    Thanks for that Cali Ron, I am glad whoever put that page together had a sense of humour, I liked the sub-head: “The expedition team is “99.9 percent” sure. Others, well, aren’t.”

  31. Verdner says:

    I am male with long hair. I do get some odd looks at times by members of the public.

    They must be christians!

  32. Verdner says:

    However, to stay on topic I am appalled at this and it’s a disgrace that a man should be forced to resign for saying what many people would agree with.

    The BBC aren’t a homophobic institution, are they? Very confusing.

  33. Verdner says:

    Lensman: Very ironic that your sister in law considers males having long hair resulting in inevitable homosexuality when all the artistic representations of JC throughout the early medieval period and beyond have depicted him with long hair, and a beard.

    Ask a christian, what does JC look like? I’m sure they will say “long brown hair with a beard, like you see in all the frescoes in the churches”.

    And of course many of these works were sponsored by the church.

    Considering her faith you would expect her and all her fellow christians to welcome long hair in males in general. The hypocrisy is beyond ridiculous.