A Channel 4 news reporter has apologised, after using a racially offensive term to describe Barack Obama.
Matt Frei said Mr Obama was “smiling like a split watermelon” when he met Pope Francis in Washington.
Watermelon is historically considered a racist term in the U.S which dates back to a stereotype that African Americans particularly like the fruit
Following Mr Frei’s report, former British NBA player, John Amaechi OBE voiced concern on Twitter:
I'm sorry, did @Channel4News just say Obama was "smiling like a split watermelon"? WTF. No. Just no. How does that get past editorial?!— John Amaechi OBE (@JohnAmaechi) September 23, 2015
Swiftly after the broadcast, Mr Frei apologised, saying “it was intended as an entirely innocent phrase that apparently has a history I simply wasn’t aware of”.
I apologise to those upset by my description of President Obama’s smile on tonight’s programme. 1/2— Matt Frei (@mattfrei) September 23, 2015
It was intended as an entirely innocent phrase that apparently has a history I simply wasn’t aware of. Honestly no offence intended. 2/2— Matt Frei (@mattfrei) September 23, 2015
Mr Amaechi appeared to concede that the incident was a misunderstanding but advised Mr Frei to stick other phrases in the future:
Clearly @mattfrei meant no harm... But let's stick with "grinning like a Cheshire Cat" in future!! ;-)— John Amaechi OBE (@JohnAmaechi) September 23, 2015
Mr Frei is currently a presenter and the Europe editor of Channel 4 News, he was previously the Washington correspondent for the broadcaster.
Prior to this, he was Washington correspondent and American news bulletin presenter for BBC world news.Reuse content