Earlier this month the BBC came under intense fire after it released a clip from its podcast ‘No country for young women’ in which guests were asked: ‘How can white women not be Karens?’
On the show, the academic Dr Charlotte Riley explained that ‘Karens’ are women who are unwilling to accept that their whiteness is a privilege. To avoid being a Karen, the historian said that women should ‘get out of the way, basically’. Other bits of charming advice on the podcast included urging women to ‘educate yourself, read some books’ and ‘stop being so loud.’
Unsurprisingly, the clip and podcast attracted a large number of complaints from viewers, who questioned why a taxpayer funded, national broadcaster was using its platform to bash middle-aged women for fun.
It appears though that the BBC does not share their concerns. Today, the corporation released its official response to the complaints, in which it dismissed any criticism of the show.
The BBC pointed out that the clip in question did not actually feature on the podcast itself, and only appeared on social media. The broadcaster also said that it was not necessary for the discussion to be balanced, as ‘due impartiality takes into account the context of the series’.
In an email to one complainant, passed on to Mr S, the corporation also added that:
“‘We realise not everyone will agree with every view expressed in an episode, but we believe this tackled an important area in a fair way, appropriate to the established tone of the series.’
Mr S wonders if the BBC are being a little disingenuous. While the clip in question did not appear on the podcast, the show devoted several minutes to discussing the problem of ‘Karens’, who were described as ‘white women who weaponise their whiteness, but play up to their vulnerability and fragility’.
At one point the guests were asked if they had any friends and followers who were Karens, and one person wondered out loud if women ‘are... really reading the history books and learning’? Near the end of the podcast, the podcast guests were even asked: ‘Do white women have problems?’
Mr S isn't quite sure that counts as tackling an important area in a fair way...