BBC Radio presenter Reggie Yates has apologised for comments on a podcast praising grime artists for not being managed by “some random fat Jewish guy from north-west London”.
Yates, 34, a former Top of the Pops presenter, drew criticism from Jewish community representatives while speaking to DJ Chuckie Lothian for a podcast posted on sharing site SoundCloud earlier this month.
Yates was praising urban artists like Wretch, Skepta and Stormzy who release their music under their own labels instead of signing up to traditional management companies.
He said: “The thing that makes it great about this new generation of artists is that they aint signing to majors. They’re independent. They’re not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north-west London. They’re managed by their brethren.”
Gideon Falter of Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) said Yates had “evoked the ugly stereotype of Jews as untrustworthy and money-grabbing”.
Meanwhile while Community Security Trust (CST) spokesman Dave Rich said: “Even worse than any offence is the message Yates gives his audience by reinforcing an anti-Semitic stereotype.”
Yates quickly said he was “hugely apologetic for this flippant comment… It was not my intention to offend or reinforce stereotypes, but I’m aware that this could have been interpreted that way and for that I am also deeply sorry”.
He added: “What I was actually trying to say was how proud I am of the new generation of artists making their success independently on their own terms and without giving away control or their rights to major labels.”