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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 16:38 GMT
BBC apologises for 'racial slur'
Sarah Kennedy
Fans complained about the comments on message boards
BBC Radio 2 has apologised after DJ Sarah Kennedy said she had almost run over a black pedestrian because she could not see him in the dark.

The 57-year-old made the comments on her early morning show last week, prompting some listeners to complain.

"It's lucky he opened his mouth to yawn or do something and I saw him. He was wearing black clothes and a black hat, he was just invisible," she said.

The BBC said: "We apologise for any offence given."

Listener protest

A spokesperson added that Kennedy had been "spoken to" about the comments.

At the time she had been discussing winter road conditions and children wearing visible clothes so they could be seen.

Her comments sparked protests from listeners on message boards, with one complaining: "This is just one in a long line of irresponsible remarks from Sarah Kennedy, but the BBC don't have a problem with her."

Another said: "I like Sarah Kennedy and I appreciate her undemanding start to the day, but I have to ask if she's determined to shoot herself in both feet by making ill-advised off-the-cuff comments."

Another listener added: "My confused elderly grandmother was more tactful and diplomatic than Kennedy."

However some fans defended her. One said: "Leaving aside the fact she said 'until he opened his mouth', she was making a point that too many pedestrians (and I include myself in that) wear dark clothing at night."

Another said skin tone was relevant in the issue of seeing pedestrians in the dark, stating: "This is nothing to do with prejudice - it is a fact based on the science of light reflecting off objects."

It is not the first time Kennedy's broadcasting has come under scrutiny.

In August she blamed a sore throat for slurring her speech, while in 1999 she called a clergyman an "old prune", described fellow DJ Ken Bruce as an "old fool" and accused a newsreader of soiling her underwear.



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