Unmasked: the job applicant mistaken for IT expert

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The Independent Online

The man who unwittingly found himself on live television explaining the intricacies of the legal battle over the Apple logo has said that he believed it was all part of a job interview.

Guy Goma, from the French Congo, had travelled to the BBC headquarters for an IT assistant job. But while sitting in the reception, he was mistaken for the IT expert that BBC News 24 had arranged to interview.

An intern rushed him into a studio, where his face was powdered ready for television. He was then fitted with a microphone and found himself in front of the camera, explaining the implications of the legal battle between Apple Computer and Apple Corps.

Mr Goma, who taught himself English after moving to London four years ago, gamely tried to answer the questions thrown at him.

"It all happened so fast," he told The Sun newspaper. "I had just signed my name when someone said 'Follow me'. He was walking so fast I had to jog to keep up. He led me into a room and this lady tried to put some make-up on me. I thought it was all part of the job interview. When I realised I was already on air, what could I do? I just tried to answer the questions and stay calm."

Meanwhile, the IT expert Guy Kewney was sitting in the Television Centre at White City, watching the rolling news channel. He saw his name appear on screen, and Mr Goma facing questions about the complicated High Court case.

Mr Kewney, founder of newswireless.net, said that the man, "seemed as baffled as I felt".

The BBC's consumer affairs correspondent, Karen Bowerman, asked Mr Goma: "With regards to the costs involved do you think now more people will be downloading online?"

He replied: "Actually, if you can walk everywhere you are going to see a lot of people downloading the internet and the website and everything they want. But I think it is much better for development to inform people what they want and to get the easy way and so faster if they are looking for."

She then said: "It does really seem the way the music industry's progressing now that people want to go on to the website and download music."

Mr Goma said: " Exactly. You can go everywhere on the cyber cafe and you can take, you can go easy. It is going to be an easy way for everyone to get something to the internet."

The questioning finished and BBC staff, realising their error, led Mr Goma to his job interview. But he said he was "traumatised" from the experience.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Unfortunately we did make a mistake and the wrong person was interviewed before we cut to our reporter. We apologise to viewers for any confusion."

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