BBC is like Boko Haram for 'forcing' DJ David Lowe to quit, says Boris Johnson

He accused both the BBC and the terrorist group of being illogical

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The Independent Online

London Mayor Boris Johnson has compared the “illogical” behaviour of Boko Haram with the BBC’s treatment of a veteran BBC Radio DJ, who was “forced” to quit for accidentally playing a song containing the N-word.

Mr Johnson made the comments regarding BBC Radio Devon broadcaster David Lowe, who stepped down last week after he mistakenly played an 82-year-old recording of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, which featured the racial slur.

The BBC has since offered him his job back, but Mr Lowe said he declined because his departure exacerbated a stress-related condition he suffers from.

In the same week, militant Islamist group Boko Haram made international headlines as a campaign for the return of 200 schoolgirls they kidnapped three weeks ago gathered pace. 

In his Telegraph column, Mr Johnson wrote: “In our own modest way, we live in a Boko Haram world, where it all depends on the swirling rage of the internet mob, and where terrified bureaucrats and politicians are borne along on a torrent of confected outrage.

"There is no consistency in the outlook of the Nigerian maniacs: they use weapons produced by the very capitalist system they claim to deplore, for instance.

"There is certainly no logic at the BBC. They should restore Mr Lowe to his job - if he will take it - and the entire BBC board should go down to Devon to apologise in person, and at their own expense."

He added: "Their treatment of this man is utterly disgraceful."

Mr Johnson wrote that "a clerisy of self-appointed internet witchdoctors went completely loco - or perhaps boko is the word" when footage emerged of Jeremy Clarkson using the N-word.

Before he resigned, Mr Lowe apologised to officials at BBC Radio Devon, but claimed Emma Clements, the station's acting editor, told him that while he had "properly" dealt with his mistake, she thought he should step down.

After his exit, Mr Lowe claims he was asked to say he was pursuing other interests.

However, he refused and made the reasons public through his website.

A BBC spokeswoman said the corporation admitted the discussion about Mr Lowe's future ”could have been handled better“ and said the "door remained open" should he want to return.

Prime Minister David Cameron also waded into the row, and said he thought the BBC was being unfair.

He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "It does seem, in this case, where if he really didn't know what was on the record, it does seem slightly unfair.“

He added: "The word in question is awful and unacceptable and people shouldn't use it, now let's be clear about that.

"We've come a long way as a country in trying to drive racism out of our country, and that is a really important thing."

Additional reporting by PA