As scooped by the Mail on Sunday yesterday, a racism row has broken out over at Sky News after Inzamam Rashid – who co-conspirators will remember was suspended for three months after attending Kay Burley’s infamous lockdown birthday party – accused the channel’s coverage of being “very white”. Screenshots sent to Guido show Rashid making the comment in the chat of an all-staff meeting:
Guido’s mole said it was a bit rich of Inzamam to slag off his colleagues in Ukraine over diversity, especially since one – Stuart Ramsay – has been shot and wounded in the line of duty. In response, Sky News head John Ryley told him he wouldn’t ever send anyone to Ukraine who wasn’t experienced…
Rashid’s complaint was also called out by Alex Crawford, Sky New’s Special Correspondent, who said that while the channel does care about diversity, it’s not correct to say there has not been anyone “of colour either on or off screen”, as her “Chinese mother and grand-mother… would be appalled that their daughter’s/grand-daughter’s heritage and background had been so casually dismissed!”
“I’m pretty sure Neville Lazarus currently in Odessa, Zein Ja’far who is heading back for his second stint in Ukraine plus Dominique Van Heerden, just recently back from her trip would all take exception to your assertion as, along with being among the best operators in the industry and highly experienced in hostile environments, they’re all contributing massively both on and off air!
Given the excessively high number of journalists who’ve been killed and injured in this war, including our own colleaques, no-one but no-one believes this is an environment which is anything other than hugely challenging and dangerous – and for which you need to be more than adequately prepared. If you believe there are individuals in our newsroom who’ve been overlooked then that’s a different issue. But I’m not convinced it’s a diversitv issue.
I guess we all have to be careful about making assumptions both on and off air and continue to strive together as a team to be inclusive as well as develop, attract and retain staff of all backgrounds.”
Rashid’s critique was pretty rash, given – as Guido’s source points out – many don’t think they should be taking lectures from someone who brought the channel’s reputation into question when breaking lockdown rules just weeks after joining the company. Maybe he’d be happier in HR…