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The Apprentice cuts You’re Fired scenes with candidate Asif after accusations of antisemitism

BBC employees are said to be ‘stunned’ the episode was recorded in the first place

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 16 February 2024 08:26 GMT
The Apprentice 2024 starts with cooking chaos as contestants mix up crumble and fishcakes

The BBC has cut scenes featuring a candidate from The Apprentice following pressure from staff members over antisemitic posts on social media.

While Dr Asif Munaf featyred in the main show as normal, his appearance in scenes recorded just days ago for the companion series You’re Fired were not aired.

You’re Fired, a series which features an interview with the latest candidate to be fired by Alan Sugar., aired on Thursday (15 February) with no reference to the contestant’s absence.

This development comes after it was revealed that the former NHS doctor had received “specialist training” after the BBC was alerted to offensive social media posts he’d shared about the Israel-Hamas war.

Last year, Dr Munaf wrote on Twitter/X that Zionists are “a godless, satanic cult” and said of his children: “I pray they are strong enough physically, spiritually and psychologically to overcome the trial of the Zionist antichrist.”

At the time, Dr Munaf was spoken to by producers so he could “understand why his posts may cause offence”. It was reported that Dr Munaf also had numerous conversations with HR and diversity and inclusion teams and also spoke to senior members of the production team after his posts were discovered.

A spokesperson for The Apprentice previously said: “After filming had taken place, we were made aware of concerns over social media posts that Asif had made after he had left the process. As soon as we were alerted, we took immediate action and spoke to Asif in detail on this. Asif took part in specialised training to understand why his posts may cause offence.

“We are committed to providing an inclusive environment on and off screen.”

In a statement, Dr Munaf apologised “for any offence caused by my online content/social media”, adding: “It was not my intention to offend anyone, and I am of course open to all views. The beliefs I hold and have shared are based on the values that I was brought up with.”

Deadline reported that Jewish BBC employees were left “stunned” by the decision to let Dr Munaf film additional scenes for You’re Fired, especially after the candidate continued to share controversial posts after his apology.

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BBC cuts ‘You’re Fired’ scenes with ‘Apprentice’ candidate Munaf (left) after accusations of antisemitism (BBC)

A BBC source has now told The Independent: “We can confirm that the individual concerned will not feature as a guest on any additional upcoming BBC content relating to The Apprentice.”

Former BBC programming boss Danny Cohen told Deadline: “I would advise BBC managers to stop telling Jewish employees what is and isn’t antisemitism. This simply would not happen if the issue involved racism against any other minority community.”

The Independent has contacted Dr Munaf for comment.

On Thursday (15 February), the Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism and provides security for the Jewish community in Britain, found that than 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in the UK in 2023.

The total was almost double the previous record in 2021, with its chief executive describing the “explosion in hatred” against the Jewish community as “an absolute disgrace”.

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