Simon Amstell apologises for Nelson Mandela comment on Radio One


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The Independent Online

Simon Amstell has apologised for suggesting there was racial segregation between Radio 1 and its sister station BBC Radio 1Xtra in reference to Nelson Mandela.

The controversial comedian said during a link:  “What is going on? We're next to 1Xtra, it's so white in here. Mandela would not approve of the situation at the BBC.”

Asked by Nick Grimshaw why, he replied: “Look at all these people in here.”

Grimshaw answered: “There's a lot of people.”

“Yeah,” Amstell replied. “But look at the segregation that's happened.”

Producer of the Breakfast Show, Matt Fincham, chimed in: “I don't think that's the right thing to be saying right now.”

Amstell then laughed, before adding: “Well, someone had to say it. Mandela would say it if he was here.”

At the end of the link, Nick Grimshaw said: “Apologies if you were offended by anything that was said earlier.”

Amstell replied: “Nothing I said was offensive, though.”

The comments were made less than 24 hours after news of Mandela's death was announced.

Taking to Twitter, Amstell later apologised, posting: "It may have been unclear this morning, as things often are but what came out of this mouth today was silly. Apologies to everyone involved."

The comedian appeared on the show to promote his new stand-up DVD, which was recorded at the BBC.

South African President Jacob Zuma announced the sad news of Mandela’s passing in a moving televised address yesterday.

He said: “Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss.

World Leaders Pay Tribute To Nelson Mandela

“Our thoughts are with the South African people who today mourn the loss of the one person who, more than any other, came to embody their sense of a common nationhood. Our thoughts are with the millions of people across the world who embraced Madiba as their own, and who saw his cause as their cause.”

Meanwhile, the UK premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom took place in London. Stars of the biopic, Idris Elba and Naomi Harris, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, walked the red carpet at the Odeon Leicester Square.