BBC apologises for ‘shocking’ gay conversion therapy poll

Current affairs journalist Hayley Valentine has been apointed editor of BBC Scotland's new hour-long news programme. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Current affairs journalist Hayley Valentine has been apointed editor of BBC Scotland's new hour-long news programme. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
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The BBC has apologised for launching a “shocking and deeply disappointing” opinion poll on gay conversion therapy.

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BBC Radio Kent asked followers on Twitter whether the widely discredited practice was acceptable after TV Doctor Ranj Singh told the programme it was akin to psychological abuse.

The post prompted outrage when it gave members of the public the option to vote on if it should be banned.

The Gay Times said the radio programme asked the “stupidest question” while others took to social media to lambast the decision to feature a lightning bolt emoji in the post.

Charity Stonewall branded the move “shocking and deeply disappointing”, adding. “LGBT people aren’t ill. Being gay, lesbian, bi or trans is not something that should be cured or changed.

“This harmful and degrading practice has been condemned by major health organisations.

“It’s unbelievable the BBC think this is a suitable topic for discussion or believe it’s appropriate for an online opinion poll.”

BBC Kent apologised and said it had removed the tweet.

The discussion on the breakfast show was prompted by Prime Minister Theresa May’s condemnation of the practice earlier this week as pressure mounted on the Government to impose a ban.

The radio programme said: “Earlier we tweeted a poll about gay conversion therapy which breached our guidelines. We have removed this and apologise for offence caused.

“We were asking listeners whether it should be made illegal. But the poll wasn’t the most appropriate way of handling this sensitive issue.”

The “dangerous” practice has been condemned by all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies, as well as the NHS, Stonewall said.

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