Senior BBC journalist used pseudonym account to back attacks on Emma Barnett after Shoah speech

EXCLUSIVE: BBC World reporter Nimesh Thaker used Twitter account Not That Bothered to promote posts by Jackie Walker and Kerry-Anne Mendoza


A senior BBC World News journalist used an anonymous social media account to support attacks on the organisation’s Jewish presenter Emma Barnett after she spoke out about the personal impact of antisemitism on her life.

Nimesh Thaker also used the Twitter account set up under the pseudonym Not That Bothered to support posts written by Kerry-Anne Mendoza and Jackie Walker, both of whom have been at the centre of antisemitism allegations themselves.

In posts from the account, the BBC reporter also suggested Israel was a “racist” and “white supremacist state”.   He also branded the BBC Director General a “white male Tory”.

The JC has been given evidence showing that Mr Thaker had used the Not That Bothered account to attempt to make contact with individuals  for reports he was making for the BBC – exposing the fact that he was behind the account.

New BBC Director General Tim Davie is expected to outline his disapproval of partisan journalists as he sets out his plans for the Corporation later this week.

Mr Thaker – who has reported for BBC World News for over ten years -  was openly critical of BBC 5 Live presenter  Ms Barnett after she delivered a widely praised speech about the impact of the Holocaust on her family on the day that Twitter was being boycotted over its failure to act against rapper Wiley’s antisemitic outbursts.

The JC has been sent screenshots showing that the Not That Bothered account retweeted a post sent to Ms Barnett which accused her of using “the same old ‘antisemitism’ excuse whenever people criticise Israel”.

In another tweet that same day,  the Not That Bothered account then made a reference to those who were supporting the 48-hour boycott.

Mr Thaker wrote: “Has the level of hate and political smearing just dropped on twitter or are racists on holiday at the moment?”

Not That Bothered next retweeted a post written by Jackie Walker, who was expelled by Labour over antisemitism, which accused some of the Twitter boycotters of being “Infamous” for “anti-black/Muslim racism.”

On another occasion, Mr Thaker appeared to support claims by the notorious editor of The Canary website Ms Mendoza when Not That Bothered retweeted an incendiary post suggesting  the “antisemitism witch-hunt” was heading for a “face-off” with the Black Lives Matters movement. The post also said: “those anti-Black, anti-Palestinian racists are gonna get their arses dragged all over town.”

Meanwhile another post written on Not That Bothered and tweeted on July 7 to the MediaGuido site said: “Guido doesn’t like black women to have an opinion.

“But white male tory as DG of the BBC is ok.”

New BBC director general Tim Davie is expected to tell staff this week that journalists must not allow personal politics to impact on their work in a bid to restore the corporation’s reputation for impartiality.

And an incoming review into social media use by BBC staff conducted by former head of news Richard Sambrook is expected to be used to curtail the subjects that employees may weigh in on.

In May, a monologue from Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis lambasting Dominic Cummings’ flouting of lockdown regulations was found to have breached impartiality rules – with BBC head of news Fran Unsworth saying it had “belonged more on the op-ed page in a newspaper than it did as the intro to an impartial broadcast programme”.

BBC World is an international channel with an estimated 121 million viewers. It broadcasts news bulletins, documentaries, lifestyle programmes and interview shows. Unlike the BBC's domestic channels, BBC World News is owned and operated by BBC Global News Ltd.

The JC has contacted Mr Thaker for comment. A BBC World News spokesperson said they were looking into the matter.


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