Talk show presenter is cleared of any wrongdoing after BLM debate

Talk show presenter is cleared of any wrongdoing after being suspended for saying he’d had no benefit from white privilege in Black Lives Matter debate

  • Stuart Peters, 65, has worked for Manx Radio on the Isle of Man for 20 years 
  • He said he understood why protests were happening in the US but not in the UK 
  • When challenged by a black caller he said: ‘I’ve had no more privilege in my life than you have’, adding: ‘I’m a white man, you’re a black man’
  • The Free Speech Union defended him and started a campaign to reinstate him 
  • Today the Isle of Man’s broadcasting watchdog cleared Mr Peters of wrongdoing 

A popular DJ suspended by his Isle of Man station after he told listeners he had not benefited from ‘white privilege’ during a debate on Black Lives Matter has today been cleared by the Manx media regulator.

Talk-show host Stuart Peters made the comments on June 3 when challenged by a black listener on his late-night programme and was taken off air the following day.

He had told the caller that he had ‘had no more privilege in my life than you have’, adding: ‘I’m a white man, you’re a black man.’ 

Mr Peters said his suspension from Manx Radio after complaints from 13 people – but messages of support from 27 listeners – amounted to an ‘Orwellian attempt at mind and speech control’. 

Today the Isle of Man’s Communications Commission said they considered Mr Peters’ comments insensitive – but found they were not made to ‘stir up racial hatred’ and did not constitute a breach of their broadcasting code.

Talk-show host Stuart Peters (pictured) was suspended when he denied he had benefited from ‘white privilege’ when challenged by a black listener on his late-night programme – but was cleared by the Isle of Man’s broadcasting regulator today

Its report, released today, said: ‘Whilst issues surrounding race can be an emotive matter, the debate in question was conducted in a fair and measured way, and for the most part, in a calm and open manner.  

Mr Peters, 65, who has worked for Manx Radio on the Isle of Man for 20 years, had previously condemned the ‘awful’ and ‘despicable’ murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month

‘The Commission is of the view that debates on subjects such as racism and discrimination are important to society and such debates should be open and balanced. 

‘While the debate during the broadcast in question was largely conducted in such a manner, the isolated incidents of insensitive comments were not in and of themselves sufficient for the Commission to intervene in a manner that would restrict the right to freedom of expression’.

Manx Radio’s managing director Chris Sully, who launched the investigation, had said he couldn’t comment at the time if the suspension. 

Today he said the station would ‘learn’ from the findings and added that the ruling was a ‘starting point on a journey of open discussion on the subject, rather than the end of the road’.

He said: ‘We are grateful for the work that the team at the CC have done to reach a conclusion and now need time to work through the entire report to see what we can learn’. 

Mr Peters, 65, who has worked for Manx Radio on the Isle of Man for 20 years, had previously condemned the ‘awful’ and ‘despicable’ murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. 

He had also voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter protests.

But on June 3, the DJ was attacked on air by 28-year-old Jordan Maguire because he had written an earlier blog post stating that ‘all lives matter’. According to Mr Maguire, this was ‘derogatory’.

‘For all lives to matter we have to raise the people of all creeds, colours, religions to the level that white people’s privilege allows them to be,’ the caller told the show. Mr Peters retorted: ‘I’ve had no more privilege in my life than you have. I’m a white man, you’re a black man, you say.’

 Mr Peters said afterwards: ‘How anyone can take real offence at anything I said that night, or the way I said it, is beyond comprehension, and that so many – most of whom probably haven’t even heard the show – want to see me lose my career because they imagine some slight is scary.’

Mr Peters, 65, who has worked for Manx Radio on the Isle of Man for 20 years, had previously condemned the ‘awful’ and ‘despicable’ murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. He had also voiced his support for the Black Lives Matter protests. Pictured: Black Lives Matter protest in London

In the show, Mr Peters had questioned why the BLM movement triggered protests outside America, including at Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s parliament. 

He told listeners: ‘I can understand very clearly why people in America are protesting about it. I can understand why Black Lives Matter – an American organisation – is protesting about it. But what I can’t understand is why people around the rest of the world are protesting, and specifically in the Isle of Man.’

A campaign was then launched to reinstate the DJ and a petition was signed by almost 10,000 people.

The Free Speech Union has rallied to his defence, warning the row is an attempt to shame individuals for not subscribing ‘to the latest woke orthodoxies’.

The organisation’s director, Toby Young, added: ‘The suspension of Stu Peters by Manx Radio just because he challenged the concept of “white privilege” is a clear breach of his right to free speech.’

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