Sky News Row After Correspondent Complains Ukraine Coverage has Been “Too White”

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!” 

She continued:

“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…

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Inzamam Rashid’s Christmas Covid Battle

Inzaman Rashid, suspended northern reporter for Sky News, tweeted today that he had been hospitalised with Covid-19 over Christmas alongside his father.

“I had oxygen to help with breathing, Dad had a lot. He’s 61, fit, healthy – but this virus ravaged him. He’s left crippled now as a result, the long term damages are devastating.”

Rashid made headlines in December after Guido revealed he had breached Covid regulations by attending Kay Burely’s 60th birthday party, which led to his three-month suspension along with Burely and Sky News political editor Beth Rigby. Rashid tested positive on the 28th of December. 23 days after Burley’s party, and 18 days after his suspension.

Rashid says that he

“…[hopes he] can help even one BAME person to ignore the myths, the lies, the idiotic commentary about the vaccines and take it. Because you don’t want this virus, trust me.”

Both he and his father are now out of hospital after a torrid time. Guido wishes them well in their recovery.

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Kay Burley Suspended Off Air for Six Months, Beth Rigby Off For 3 Months

Sky News statement:

“A small number of Sky News staff attended a social event in London on Saturday evening during which COVID-19 guidelines were breached.

As a result of an internal review Sky News presenter Kay Burley has agreed to be off air for six months, and political editor Beth Rigby and correspondent Inzamam Rashid have agreed to be off air for three months.

All those involved regret the incident and have apologised.

Everyone at Sky News is expected to comply with the rules and the company takes breaches like this very seriously indeed.”

Kay Burley has released a statement:

“It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules. It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry.  Some dear friends and colleagues – some of the most talented and committed professionals in our business – have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously… I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32-year career with Sky when I return.”

How Kay thought it was Covid-compliant to bring people home after a night out on the tiles is beyond belief, she quizzed ministers about the rules regularly – she must have known. The station realised that it would lose all credibility reporting on the pandemic with presenters who had so blatantly breached the rules after taking censorious positions themselves. Kay did not help herself by lying about the evening’s events.

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Taken Off Air: Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid and Sam Washington

Following the 1pm all-staff meeting Guido this morning revealed was happening at Sky, Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid and Sam Washington have all been taken off air pending investigation. They join Kay Burley in being suspended on full pay over Christmas…

The mood at Sky News cannot be overstated right now. Junior staffers are furious with their superiors for the hypocrisy. Earlier today Adam Boulton retweeted a post calling Kay and her birthday bash goers “Morons”. Whatever happened to that Sky news Twitter views ban?

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Sky Presenter’s Cummings Style 206 Mile Trip for Burley’s Birthday Party

As Sky New’s internal investigation causes angst inside the Osterley campus, a Sky mole gets in contact with Guido to add fuel to the fire; pointing out that not only did Kay’s birthday bash break Tier 2 laws, the broadcaster’s North of England correspondent Inzamam Rashid had to travel down from his Manchester home to attend. A 206 mile journey which would was not by any means essential. Ironically, Inzamam in English means ‘to get together with friends’…

Guido’s mole suggests management want to get rid of Inzamam as they feel his presence and breach was “particularly egregious.” Based on stories Guido’s heard from Inzamam’s former BBC North West colleagues, a sacking over his Covid rule breach would be tamer than his last dismissal…

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Kay’s Bog Standard Apology Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Last night Kay Burley apologised for having “popped in” to another restaurant after the 11pm curfew while “waiting for a taxi” on her way home from the Century Club, “to spend a penny”. Guido suspects spending a penny is the new ‘testing my eyesight’…

“I want to apologise to you all for an error of judgment. On Saturday night I was enjoying my 60th birthday at a Covid compliant restaurant. I am embarrassed to say that later in the evening I inadvertently broke the rules. I had been waiting for a taxi at 11pm to get home. Desperate for the loo I briefly popped into another restaurant to spend a penny. I can only apologise.”

The trouble for Kay is that this statement does not address the whole story, and contradicts what the owner of the restaurant told Guido about the event yesterday. Either the restaurant owner was not telling the truth to Guido, or Kay has been fibbing…

  1. Her party at the “Covid compliant” club was made up of ten people, split across two tables. Yet the ‘Rule of Six’ apples to social events like birthday parties inside or outside. The only other gatherings such as business meetings can exceed it...
  2. Kay’s statement presumes she walked all the way to the restaurant Folie to spend her penny. Despite it being not exactly next door to the club she came from.
  3. Kay does not mention the other people who came with her into the second restaurant. Yet the owner admitted to Guido yesterday that “several people” came in to the restaurant.
  4. Guido was initially told by the restaurant owner that Kay and her friends had gone in to the second restaurant after curfew “to pay a bill, that was it”. Not to go to the loo…
  5. When Guido put to restaurant owner Guillaume Depoix that Kay and company had been in the restaurant for quite a while, “a couple of hours”, this was not denied. Guido certainly got the impression the group were there for a considerable amount of time.
  6. Kay does not mention the other people who came back to her home. Yet she didn’t deny it.

Whilst Kay’s statement tries to take all the blame, Guido has yet to hear what her Sky News colleagues and party guests Beth Rigby, Inzamam Rashid, and Sam Washington have to say. Taking the p*ss… in every sense…

mdi-timer 8 December 2020 @ 08:59 8 Dec 2020 @ 08:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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