A BBC Panorama presenter has apologised after it emerged that he was filmed making Hitler salutes and goose-stepping while making a documentary about anti-Semitism two years ago.
Chris Rogers, a former Newsround children’s TV presenter, had been filming racist and bigoted attitudes in Poland and Ukraine ahead of the Euro 2012 football tournament. He was filmed marching with one finger under his nose while the crew laughed. Footage has only now come to light.
“I fully accept that some of my behaviour, which was intended as a joke, was deeply inappropriate, particularly given the seriousness of what we were filming,” said Rogers. “I might have displayed a lack of judgement.”
The freelance journalist, who also apologised to the BBC at the time, says he was “strongly reprimanded” by television bosses two years ago.
The organisation has not engaged with his services since and says it “considers the matter closed,” which seemed to satisfy community groups.
“His actions were clearly offensive,” said a CST spokesman. “I’m pleased to see that Panorama dealt with it appropriately at the time.”
Several viewers noted the irony of Rogers’ actions in online discussions. One wrote: “Racist gestures while making a show to highlight racism, how ironic. The BBC should have done more than tell him off.”
Another said: “Nothing funny about a Nazi salute. What a hypocrite. He should have been dismissed on the spot and paid his own airfare home.”
However, others couldn’t understand why the presenter’s actions were so offensive, with one viewer writing: “So, he did exactly the same as one of our most successful comedians… Wow, what a story!”
Another said: “For goodness sake. People made fun of Hitler all the time during the war. It’s what helped a lot of people get through the horror of it all. Get a grip and grow up.”
The show Rogers was filming, called Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate, revealed racial abuse and violence in the host countries ahead of the tournament.