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BBC defends Kaye Adams over ‘shocking’ Nicola Sturgeon comment on Radio Scotland

The BBC has defended Kaye Adams from backlash over a “shocking” comment about Nicola Sturgeon following complaints from radio listeners.

Broadcaster Adams, who also hosts ITV series Loose Women, was discussing scathing WhatsApp messages from Scotland’s former first minister, which called Boris Johnson a “f***ing clown”, on BBC Radio Scotland.

Sturgeon’s messages that were shared with the ex-SNP leader’s top adviser, Liz Lloyd, were revealed at the Covid inquiry on Thursday (25 January).

Talking about the subject on Mornings, with Kaye Adams, columnist Kelly Given told host the presenter: “Nicola Sturgeon has submitted evidence to this inquiry, she’s submitted her informal messaging, and I think we need to take that at face value – she’s done that. Why are we holding these people to account as if they’re not human beings?”

Here, Adams said: “Because in this instance they’re not human beings, they’re politicians.” which prompted Givens to reply: “Politicians are human beings... Why are we treating politicians as if they’re not human beings in this context?”

Adams’s comment referring to politicians as “not human beings” led to outrage on social media, with politicians urging the BBC to apologise for the broadcaster’s turn of phrase.

SNP councillor Math Campbell-Sturgess wrote on X/Twitter: “This kind of dehumanising language is bad enough from callers – for a host to say this is beyond the pale,” while Perth MP Pete Wishart said: “Absolutely shocking. I hope @BBCScotland think about an apology, or at least some sort of correction, for this.”

But the BBC has brushed off the criticism, telling The Independent: “This comment was made as part of a wider discussion on the Covid inquiry and in particular holding politicians to account for decisions made during this time.

“Taking the comment out of context in this way is not a fair reflection of the discussion throughout the morning. Of course our presenters don’t believe politicians aren’t human – the point being made was that they also hold elected office, as was completely clear to anyone listening to the full programme, as opposed to a short clip of it.”

Kaye Adams has been defended by BBC over controversial Nicola Sturgeon comment (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)
Kaye Adams has been defended by BBC over controversial Nicola Sturgeon comment (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Sturgeron’s surfaced messages came after SNP leader Humza Yousaf admitted the Scottish government’s handling of information was “frankly poor” as he announced a review into its use of WhatsApp in a bid to end the controversy over deleted messages.