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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 19:01 GMT
Should Kilroy have been taken off the air?
Robert Kilroy-Silk

TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk has said that he has received messages of public support following the BBC's decision to suspend his talk show because of anti-Arab comments he made in a newspaper.

In an interview with ITV's Trevor McDonald, Mr Kilroy-Silk also said that he stood by his remarks about some Middle Eastern states, although critics claim he attacked all Arabs.

This comes after the former politician's programme was suspended following an article in the Sunday Express in which he referred to Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb-amputators, women repressors".

Was the BBC right to take Kilroy off the air? Should there be limits to freedom of speech?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Kilroy has the right of free speech
Valerie Needle, Banbury, UK
NO! Kilroy has the right of free speech even if it offends as does everyone. How can we say we are a democratic country if we do not uphold that basic right? Surely we have seen enough of oppressed countries whose people do not have the right of free speech. As a presenter I have watched him over many years and to lose him because he may have offended some people is not the way of a free democratic people. Didn't we fight wars for this very right?
Valerie Needle, Banbury, UK

There is a difference between freedom of speech and being judgmental, generalising and phrasing your words in an offensive way. We were all taught at school before we knew about freedom of speech, manners and to treat people the way you want to be treated. And what I read really did not show any of that.
Hannah, London

Well done BBC! We should not be ashamed about taking a clear stance against racism. All those talking about freedom of speech, find it easier when the offence is on someone else. Let them reflect what it is like being attacked on the basis of race.
SA, London, UK

I personally need Kilroy back on air he keeps me well entertained in the mornings I am off work.
William, London, UK

Please do not take Kilroy off the air!! Even after all of these years, he is a breath of fresh air. Don't leave me with repeats or another 'Trisha' type programme.
Debbie Leach, Wallington, UK

I am proud of the BBC for taking him off the air
AB, London, England
Freedom of speech does not mean that a person, especially one who is in a position of responsibility, should advocate racist views. To quote him 'Arabs are terrorists,' seems racist to me and all those who defend this position leave themselves open to the same criticism, maybe some are proud of it. I am proud of the BBC for taking him off the air. No-one wishes to take away his freedom for talking nonsense, but let him stand on a box in speakers corner and rant his rubbish there, why should the BBC, as influential as it is, be a platform for his ignorant comments?
AB, London, England

Kilroy has the right of freedom of speech, like anyone else. However, his racist remarks cannot be condoned by his employer, the BBC, an equal opportunities employer.
David Ranson, Grantham

I thought that this is a country where you can have freedom of speech? If Kilroy Silk wants to speak his own mind, why should his show be taken off the air? When the show has nothing to do with his Anti Arab comments. Political correctness gone astray again!
Paul Royston, Bristol UK

I have never understood the phrase 'political correctness'. Is it the same as good manners? If so, perhaps Kilroy Silk needs some private tuition in the subject before being let loose on us licence-payers.
Pat Hutchinson, Ambleside, UK

What is all this nonsense about freedom of speech? RKS had it! His article was published in a national newspaper!
Wendy, UK

People hide their racist views behind the freedom of speech
Suzy, London
It is easy for white people to defend Kilroy as they have no idea what it's like to be black or Asian in this society. People hide their racist views behind the freedom of speech. I think he should make a public apology and never be given work again!
Suzy, London

There seems to be a misconception that there is an unfettered right of free speech in the UK. This is simply not true - there are plenty of laws that impinge on that right, such as laws against incitement to racial hatred etc.
Nigel Pond, Brit living in the USA

It is the BBC's duty to represent it's viewers - viewers from all races and backgrounds. In order to do this fully, the BBC cannot employ someone who holds such ill-informed opinion to be true. I for one am glad to see Kilroy taken off air. His show's incredibly tedious and it's about time it was removed from the schedules. Why not repeat "Question Time" in Kilroy's slot and show the morning viewers what intelligent debate can be like?
Pippa, London, UK

Kilroy's views are careless in who they offend, the stereotypes they reinforce and the discrimination and harassment that may follow. That is an irresponsible attitude for a journalist in the difficult and polarising circumstances of today. His ability to treat all on the programme with respect has been called into question, and given that this was not a once-off, he has proved himself unsuitable to host the talk show.
Tariq Modood, Bristol

90% of the country probably agree with Kilroy's comments! I personally don't see why comments made by Kilroy, should affect his talk show appearances. Whatever comments he has made, do not change the fact that he is excellent at his job, and should not have been taken off air.
June Jonigk, Hereford UK

I feel that the BBC has cowed down under pressure
Deanna, Wakefield
I feel that the BBC has cowed down under pressure. If they wanted to they could have just distanced themselves from his comments, but instead they showed no backbone and gave in at the first sign of conflict. We are a free country and have the right to express an opinion. Kilroy is professional enough to keep a debate going without imposing his own opinion. If the BBC doesn't want people to express their opinions then it should remove all talk shows from TV and radio, Get it right, BBC, after all we do pay your wages.
Deanna, Wakefield

To all those on this page expressing views of support for Kilroy-Silk on the grounds of freedom of speech, I ask one question: would you be claiming the right of freedom of speech for an Islamic extremist expounding similar views against the west? Kilroy Silk has amply demonstrated that extremists exist on both sides of the world and that until both sides are reigned in there will be continued terrorism.
John Farmer, Henley-on-Thames, UK

I dislike Kilroy's show. He never lets anyone with any intelligence finish their point. I think that the BBC were probably looking for an excuse to get rid of him. Seeing as ratings figures for the extended breakfast show is one and a half million more a day now he's gone I think they should. I buy The Express newspaper regularly but always ignore his page. For him to say something like that was hardly surprising - he was bound to slip up one day.
Sarah Hall1, Newcastle

The BBC totally over-reacted to Kilroy's Sunday Express article. I agree that he was too broad in his condemnation and should have been more clear that he meant some Arab regimes rather than all Arab people. He has subsequently clarified this both on air and in print and apologised for the error but not the substance of his statement to which many Arabs will agree. He is always careful to be even handed on "Kilroy" and it was only necessary for the BBC to put out a statement that his privately expressed views were not those of the BBC. Perhaps you should look to some of your other directly employed reporters in the middle east who show open anti Israeli tendencies in their reporting which goes unnoticed by the BBC.
V Selby, Pershore,

I refuse to watch the BBC until The Kilroy Show is re-instated
Eleanor Wiggins, Manchester
I refuse to watch the BBC until The Kilroy Show is re-instated. It is about time somebody spoke out, but look what happens, he was gagged! How childish to take off the only day-time TV worth watching, I am a Sister working on an Intensive care unit, my husband an engineer, my daughters are studying for degrees, and when they are completed we shall go to Australia to live. This country does not belong to the Brits anymore. We are second class citizens in our own Country. My husband was made redundant a few days before xmas, he is entitled to 50 per week, we have received nothing as to date, after 35 years work. If he was an asylum seeker he would get a house and thousands of pounds a month in benefits. I think politicians should stop being politically correct and join Kilroy in telling the truth, we now live in fear of our lives because we invite everyone for a life of luxury in our Country, whilst we foot the bill.
Eleanor Wiggins, Manchester

Irrespective of what Kilroy said about the Arab community, his show should be taken off the air anyway because it is woeful.
Enda Carroll, Clonmel, Ireland

The BBC is guilty of a ridiculous witch-hunt and is behaving despotically by suppressing free speech. They should apologise and reinstate Kilroy at once.
T.Thomas, Manchester

Comments taken out of context, as is the case in this row over Mr. Kilroy, will always inflame. The media is good at manipulating words of people to get people tuning in. Kilroy was talking about regimes, not all Arabs. However, it was just enough to get people talking. I think it is ludicrous to penalize him now for something said months ago. Nothing was done until the article was published again. Sounds like someone was baiting of the public if you ask me...
Bill, USA

The culture of PC is stifling free speech
Keith, USA/UK
Some of the topics on the Kilroy show have done more to undermine the fabric of British society than any clumsy remarks he makes about Arabs. The culture of PC is stifling free speech. It is perfectly acceptable to be able to criticise the individuals in the government, the members of the royal family, celebrities et al, yet mention a minority faction in Britain and you are restrained to a couple of meaningless hyperboli. PC will ultimately cause the biggest rift in cultural relationships as it is the most intolerant attitude of them all.
Keith, USA/UK

Why am I reading articles regarding the whole of the Islamic world being offended? Didn't he say Arab states? If someone criticised Germany, would the rest of the Christian countries stand up and be offended? NO! I find it pathetic that in today's world anyone who is not Muslim is told to keep his/her mouth shut, are we the racist ones? I think not!
DanH, Leeds, UK

I'm sick of political correctness. If people and peoples are all recognisable as human beings, which they are, then it must be recognised that they are as capable of evil as of good. It is a peculiar type of racism to claim certain people or peoples are one-dimensional.
Alison R Noyes, London, UK

I believe that the BBC must PERMANENTLY terminate Robert Kilroy-Silk's contract. Anything less will mean that the BBC tolerates presenters who hold openly racist views. There is no question of the BBC ever continuing to employ someone if they held openly anti-black or anti-Jewish views. Does the BBC believe that anti-Arab racism is any less odious?
AL, London, GB

This matter has ruined his impartiality
M. Barotchi, Sheffield
By standing by his remarks in an interview with Trevor McDonald, Kilroy revealed shocking facts about his real (racist/stereotyping) rather naive attitudes. I used to like his shows, but this matter has ruined his impartiality.
M. Barotchi, Sheffield

I think he should have been forced to write a brief article apologising for any offence he made, and to retract any generalisations made against all Arabs. However he should still be able to stand by all his arguments made, against Arab states, as factual.
Jonathan Burke, Melbourne, Australia

I remember a few years ago Mr Kilroy-Silk invited Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders to talk. It was such a great programme. I thought he brought people closer to each other by talking, understanding and compromising. It is a shame to see the programme off the air. I hope this will be sorted soon. I must admit I was surprise to hear his comments.
Mr Waleed, Folkestone, Kent

I cannot believe that a presenter of Kilroy-Silk's stature could make such stupid remarks. In the current post 9/11 climate of mistrust of certain races, Kilroy is adding fuel to the fire. I think it would be difficult for the BBC to credibly bring him back on air, even with a full apology.
Derek Banton, Nottingham, UK

Kilroy-Silk was not being racist. His remarks were actually xenophobic, which is entirely different. In addition anyone would have formed the same opinion about the Arabs if they had exclusively watched BBC News. There is absolutely no balance and Arabs are always presented in a bad light.
Paul Horgan, Bracknell, UK

Colour does not matter it is the evil that matters
Jane, Manchester

I believe we should have the right to express our views, but these days you have to be very careful what you say as in some other comments that have been made political correctness has gone too far. We should all be able to live together. RKS has stated a fact and it is not directed at all Muslims. Only the bad ones and it is that evil we have to try to end. Whether it is in a Muslim, an Arab, a white person or any other race. Colour does not matter it is the evil that matters. But many people cannot see that. It's about time everyone in the world woke up and started seeing what is happening to us.
Jane, Manchester

Kilroy should have been taken off years ago. His anti-intellectual, sensationalist approach to potentially inflammatory issues is damaging to society. This is not an issue of 'freedom of speech', but rather of the polemical rubbish that he fosters in his programme not being worthy of the airtime. Well done BBC! Keep him off!
Mark Williams, London

The point of the Kilroy programme is to discuss important and topical issues, and it is important that the host of such a programme is fair and unbiased
Zabina, Luton

I just wanted to voice my support for the actions which the BBC have taken against RKS. I feel that suspending RKS and his programme was completely justified. The point of the Kilroy programme is to discuss important and topical issues, and it is important that the host of such a programme is fair and unbiased. I feel that any Arab, Muslim, or other individual who was offended by the comments made by RKS, could never trust that their views would be taken seriously or fairly, by some one who has such prejudiced and misguided views and who has previously offended them and failed to make an adequate apology.
Zabina, Luton, UK

The BBC's decision to take Kilroy off air was correct if long overdue. If he had said that about Black or Jewish people he would have been removed immediately. His apology was half hearted and now far from apologising he seems to be justifying what he said. I hope the BBC makes the suspension permanent.
Jane Hartley, London

The BBC have taken political correctness too far. The decision to suspend Robert Kilroy-Silk does not represent the feelings of the majority of the British population. The vast majority of British people believe that he was speaking the truth.
James McLaren, Senghenydd, Wales

BBC is being too politically correct and they would find it impossible to replace Kilroy. He has constantly shown his humanity and has always been fair, just and impartial.
Karen Morris, Essex, UK

The fact that Mr Kilroy repeated his controversial views again and again under the pretext of free speech shows arrogance and lack of taste, and makes him unfit for his BBC job which requires clear impartiality.
Abood, Scotland

Yes he should be off the air. This misconception of the Freedom of Speech is getting on my nerves. We should distinguish between the correct meaning of Freedom of Speech and racist views which might offend others. You can never express the Freedom of Speech theory by attacking anyone based on his colour, country, religion or social status. I am glad he is out.
MC, London

It seems in this country freedom of speech only applies to those with viewpoints the press agree with
John, Harrow, UK

If people had actually read his report rather than the speculation about it you would find it is aimed more at the regimes than the people, and I don't think you could dispute that countries like Iran have their share of issues in that respect. His show should not have been stopped for this, it would be like suspending someone for saying the police force was institutionally racist, that can be taken as a generalisation that people could take offence to, it seems in this country freedom of speech only applies to those with viewpoints the press agree with.
John, Harrow, UK

For all those supporting KS, if someone had said the same things about the Jews - they would have been accused of being Nazi-sympathisers and would no doubt have been sacked immediately. KS has never been the impartial facilitator he is supposed to be on his programme and his bigoted and racist views have always shone through. Get him off the air and bring on someone who can act truly impartially. Nadia, France

Whoever suspended Kilroy-Silk should be sacked. Freedom of speech is a basic right of all in this country and we don't need dictators within the BBC to persecute people which are telling the truth get a grip.
Gary Hamilton, Loch Croistean, Isle of Lewis

No, if only for the fact that he's blamed everyone but himself for the opprobrium which has been heaped on him. He's blamed the BBC, the Express newspaper, the Lord Hutton enquiry, but most damningly of all, he's blamed his secretary. His named appeared on the article, and he is the one to blame
Darrien Watson, UK

It calls into question his integrity and impartiality
Iain, Leighton Buzzard, UK
Nothing that has been said by Kilroy-Silk or the media negates the fact that he made a series of comments that could and were read as referring to the entirety of one racial group irrespective of where they lived or under what type of government. The rights or wrongs of what he may have meant to say are the subject of a BBC investigation. However in my view his comments were inflammatory to say the least. At best they reek of sloppy journalism at worst were an intentional sustained attack that he has chosen to hide as an honest (sic) mistake. Either way it calls into question his integrity and impartiality with little that he has said since negating that impression.

The BBC were correct to pull his programme and unless he comes up with a better excuse, it should stay pulled.
Iain, Leighton Buzzard, UK

It is the job of Robert Kilroy-Silk to facilitate a debate on his show. As such he should allow differing points of view to be expressed. This he does. He is just as entitled to an opinion as the rest of us and should be allowed to express his personal view. The BBC claim this is not an attack on freedom of speech yet having a personal point of view in no way reduces his ability to facilitate a debate. It seems there are those within the BBC that are tainted not Kilroy-Silk.
Malcolm Brooks, Milton Keynes

No I do not think the BBC was right - the freedom of speech has been taken away from the English and we have to watch everything we say with the fear of being called racist. Although I do not always agree with K-S opinions I still feel he should have the chance to voice them. Growing up I was always told that freedom of speech in this country was part of our right. Where has it gone?
Pat Morley, Beckenham, England

If he was a guest on his own show, he would have thrown himself out by now
Domnhall Sionach, Cambridge, UK
As a student, I enjoy the Kilroy programme - it gets me up in the morning. It would be a shame to pull the Kilroy programme, which allows the common man to debate personal and social issues in a non-sensationalised manner. But his anti-Arab remarks seem really out of character and I think he should be challenged to defend his argument in a studio debate, similar to the one he hosts. I don't believe he is a racist, but he is certainly out of order. If he was a guest on his own show, he would have thrown himself out by now.
Domnhall Sionach, Cambridge, UK

RKS should not have been taken off the air. The BBC should express the views of the people who pay for it. If it does not then it is unrepresentative and a waste of money. With the Royal charter review coming-up the BBC should consider this.
Graham Parry, Reading, UK

People quoting "free speech" are missing two things.
First, we are not talking about his opinions as an individual, or even his opinions as a columnist. Not only is he an employee of the BBC, he is paid to be the chair of discussions, to be in a position of trust & balance. This kind of article in incompatible with that job: it is as simple as that.

Secondly, there are limits. "No one has the free speech to shout 'fire' in a crowded theatre". We have had - quite correctly - laws on racial hatred, and this is in that area.

This was a stupid, ill-judged & ill-informed article. If nothing else, those are three reasons to sack him.
Rupert, London, UK

Perhaps I should be glad that BBC has decided to suspend Kilroy's show, otherwise I wouldn't have heard of this wonderful article. This is just one example to how trying to shut people up doesn't work.
Eli, New York, USA

There is enough intolerance in this world without an intelligent, influential TV Host adding to the problem
David Drummond, London
I watched the Trevor MacDonald interview last night. Robert Kilroy-Silk was clearly uncomfortable and quite rightly should be. There is enough intolerance in this world spread by ignorance without an intelligent, influential TV Host adding to the problem. If he cant do good with his TV personality status then he should have it removed... I am not an Arab and found him offensive.
David Drummond, London

Absolutely, my only surprise is that it didn't happen sooner. RKS was the first to jump on the anti-immigration bandwagon when the tabloids sparked a fervour a couple of years ago. He hosted numerous immigration-related shows where the depth of his ignorance shone through his thinly veiled attempt at neutrality. I found these shows at best unhelpful, if not damaging. The man lacks the intelligence and tact that is essential for someone in his position. What I find most disturbing about Kilroy is his eloquent delivery of the inane glossed with his trademark charming smile. Unfortunately, RKS is an influential figure to the millions that watch his show, and will remain so unless the BBC axes his show.

However, I don't believe his words merit a police investigation in that I can't imagine he deliberately planned to incite racial hatred.
Konjit Yigezu, Croydon, UK

Kilroy-Silk has stated correctly that Arabs regimes/society have contributed nothing to civilisation unless of course you want to look back more than 500 years. Clearly there is something wrong with the Arab society where they do not add creativity, inventions, or knowledge to the society we live in today. Kilroy-Silk is merely delivering a message of what we all think.
Jack Chad, Reading

I do not think it is reasonable to cite free speech as a defence of such ignorance
Alex Cockburn, London
Kilroy Silk has made an absurd defence to his absurd article. It is demonstrably clear that he DID intend to refer to Arabs in general with the article. Moreover, I do not think it is reasonable to cite free speech as a defence of such ignorance. He's a relatively intelligent man who was well aware that his comments would be taken as comfort for their small minded views. Shame on him.
Alex Cockburn, London, England

I don't much like Kilroy, but I much less like the political correctness that is stifling this country. It's bad enough coming from the Met, HSE, CRE or wherever... but it now also seems to pervade the BBC
Ken Davies, Isleworth

I totally agree with what Kilroy actually said, not what was misreported that he said. If anyone stopped to consider his true comments, they would realise that it was factually based and fair, even if sections of the public jump on to the politically correct/supposedly racist bandwagon. I think it disgraceful that he should have been 'suspended' let alone pressed to apologise. I think he has nothing to apologise for and has the guts to say what many people really think.
Peter Catling, Wallington, Surrey, England

Surely, this is neither about freedom of speech nor impartiality. It must be about political correctness. All states do both good and bad things. This is another example of constructive debate being stifled by playing the race card.
Steve, Muswell Hill, London

A presenter who can no longer be classed as unbiased and neutral is not eligible to host a programme which has such diverse themes
Roopa, London
The BBC is of course right. This isn't about freedom of speech. This is about racial hatred and that's exactly what Mr Kilroy-Silk preaches. In classifying Iran as an Arabic country, his expertise in geography is also quite evident. A presenter who can no longer be classed as unbiased and neutral is not eligible to host a programme which has such diverse themes. Writing for Daily Express should now be his full-time job. Good luck to him.
Roopa, London

No one says you have to agree with the man, or even listen to him for that matter, but you do need to give him the right to speak his mind.
Ian, Essex

I certainly think that he should have been taken off the air. If he says comments that are likely to offend others than he should have to pay the price. Well done BBC!
Hayley , Exeter, United Kingdom

I find it hard to criticise Robert Kilroy Silk, when with appropriate caveats, the comments are undoubtedly true. However expressing the opinions in the manner that he did, and his lack of balance brings in to question the appropriateness of his further employment as a journalist at the BBC.
David Roberts, Birmingham, UK

If Robert Kilroy knows so much about the subject then its time for him to debate the issue live on television with unbiased academics of the middle east.
John, UK

The BBC owes Kilroy nothing. He's contributed nothing to society. Indeed, apart from his daytime TV show, what has he contributed? Can you think of anything? Anything really useful? Anything really valuable? Something we really need, could not do without? What does he think we feel about him? That we adore him for the way he's offended millions of Arabs, and then celebrate his right to be a free-speaking nincompoop? After all, Kilroy isn't exactly a shining example of the usual high standards of the BBC, is he? He should go down on his knees and thank the BBC for their munificence in not having sacked him already.
Kevin Haynes, Amsterdam, Holland

The BBC was absolutely correct to suspend the K-S show. Freedom of speech is very important but in today's violent world a few inflammatory words particular from someone in the media can cause great distress, anger and possible physical violence. This country has to learn to be a multi cultural society and stop pretending that white Englishmen are the best race in the world with others being 2nd class citizens.
Peter B, Birmingham UK

Why wasn't Anne Robinson taken off the air for what she said about the Welsh?
Thomas, Rotherham, South Yorkshire
If Kilroy was taken off air for attacking a country, why wasn't Anne Robinson taken off the air for what she said about the Welsh?
Thomas, Rotherham, South Yorkshire

Can we, the British people no longer have what we have treasured for a very long time - freedom of speech? We no longer seem able to state our own opinions. But are told what we must think. We are no longer able to put an opinion that someone else might disagree with- there are other countries with very similar 'regimes'-lets keep our freedom of speech, we can choose to agree or disagree. Kilroy usually put all points of view over on his programme, so we can choose where we stand ourselves! Let's have him back!
C Scammell, Chichester Sussex

Whatever your views about PC-ness, it was originally an idea that recognised that words DO hurt and can cause great offence. RKS can indeed say what he likes, but that does not mean that the BBC should provide a platform for him. He can, and clearly has, found other outlets. What he said was not only clearly racist -'Arabs are terrorists' - and almost comically ignorant - 'what have Arabs ever given us?' He should try reading some history books, but until then I totally support the BBC's decision not to give him tacit approval by keeping him on the air.
Katherine, London, UK

There is certainly a case to be made against some of the repressive Arab regimes. Unfortunately RKS did so in a clumsy, ill-thought through and provocative manner. Sadly I doubt that if he hadn't our tabloid press would have been interested in printing any reasoned, nuanced argument. This means that RKS is at worst an idiot. If we banned all idiots from our airwaves, they would be quiet indeed.
Gareth, Perth, Scotland

What on earth is with this misconception of "Freedom of Speech" anyway?! For anyone else who used this argument, help me with a little experiment: Get up from your desk, walk in to your Manager's office, and then proceed to fire off a volley of sexually explicit insults. FREE SPEECH means you were free to say them, but RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR ACTIONS means you'll probably be reading the rest of this article from home.
Michael, Cambridge, UK

If the Arab states and their supporters object, they should reply to the article, not try to suppress it
Chris Green, Exeter, England
I understand that Robert Kilroy Silk wrote this article in April, in support of the Iraq war. I opposed (and still oppose) the Iraq war. Still, Mr Kilroy Silk has the right to his opinion. His article was a rant rather than a reasoned argument. Still, he has the right to express anger. If the Arab states and their supporters object, they should reply to the article, not try to suppress it. They should certainly not be permitted to deny its author employment. Are we not allowed to debate things any more?
Chris Green, Exeter, England

His comments were said at a time when we should be trying to build a better relationship with the Arab states. Clearly he spoke before he thought and he should face the consequences. Arabs are humans just like us and although they have different beliefs they should be regarded as humans
Paul, Leamington Spa

"Free Speech" does not entitle one to abuse the privilege afforded to him by his employer. The BBC has obligations to its audience and to its funders and is well within its right to exercise control over content. If one of its presenters runs a risk of embarrassing the Beeb, then by all means, take him off the air until he makes appropriate assurances. Note that my comments have *nothing* to do with what he said; the bottom line is that he is an employee in a very privileged position.
Keith Hanlan, Ottawa, Canada

Political correctness has gone too far. No one is allowed an opinion any more. I admire Kilroy for speaking out. The vast majority of people are so fed up with the loss of common sense today. What happened to freedom of speech? You cannot even tell a joke with out somebody complaining.
Mags, Devon

While I do not share Kilroy's views or opinion, in fact I am utterly opposed to the sweeping generalisations made, I am more disgusted by erosion of freedom of expression, the message from the state is, say what you like, but we'll take away your liberty if we don't like it. It screams of totalitarianism, and begs the question, where is this freedom we are defending?
Glenn Dawkins, Sussex UK

Silencing people will not change their beliefs, it will just make them boil over.
Helen, Notts

If the BBC's justification for taking him off air was not because of the sweeping racist generalisations themselves, it should have simply been to remove from their representation someone who does not have the intelligence to distinguish between certain regimes / groups / individuals, and a whole Race in it's entirety.
Nadeen, Reading, England

I am an Arab British living here for 25 years, I find no difference between what Kilroy says and the extremists Arabs - both spread hatred deliberately.
Salah, London, UK

His gross generalisation is reckless and irresponsible
Austin Rock, Ireland
Yes, because what he said was unforgivable and inappropriate. He still has the right to say it, but we live in a World and society where you must accept personal responsibility. His gross generalisation is reckless and irresponsible and he has no-one to blame but himself. He has admitted his article was inaccurate and apologised for it. So why do people here continue to support his original comments? When even he has apologised for?
Austin Rock, Ireland

This is not about freedom of speech, living on a majority white estate, not a week goes by when I get abused hurled at me because of my colour. Kilroy's comments simply do not help. We can say anything but we must stay within the confines of the law.
Asad Chuto Agha, Walsall, UK

I fully support Robert Kilroy-Silk. He has had the courage to speak the truth. The BBC should not have taken his programme off.
Kevin Edwards, Bedford UK

Kilroy had the right to express his views in his organ of choice - The Sunday Express - and the BBC has the right to disassociate itself from such ill thought out generalisations by removing him from its schedules.
Carl, UK

People constantly talking about free speech are really getting on my nerves.....there is a limit to all things....that article was blatant incitement to racial hatred. The BBC has taken the difficult but responsible decision.
MA, London

Whilst the aim of an inclusive, multi-cultural society is laudable, it must not be forgotten, in its pursuit, that there is a long-established culture of democracy and freedom of speech in this country that also needs to be protected. Kilroy should not have been taken off the air; this was an unnecessary act of censorship and violation of freedom of speech.
Hannah Southon, London, England

Surely Kilroy was speaking in defence of all the Arabs who are living in our country to escape the evil regimes they no longer wish to live under. People from all backgrounds speak freely on his programme and I hope this will continue. It is something this country and the BBC should be proud of, not trying to stop.
P Brockhurst, Worthing, West Sussex

Whether RKS made the comments about "Arabs" or "Arab Nations" is neither here nor there. Has he ever worked in an Arab state? Lived there? What exactly is his experience that qualifies his arguments? As far as I'm aware he's not exactly an expert. May I suggest he not be put up for the job of British Ambassador to Saudi! Robert of Arabia he is not!
Helen, Essex

If only he'd been clearer about who his article was aimed at (harmful organisations, not Arabs in general) then none of this would have happened. How the paper, and Kilroy himself could have let such ambiguity slip through the net and into print beggars belief...But still, he's paying an overly high price for what amounts to sloppy journalism.
Tony, Chelmsford

RKS has made many valid points but could have written the article without the generalisations and without the twisted language such as referring to "asylum seekers claiming social security". I think it's references such as these that give his game away; he's an ex-politician so he has no excuse, and the BBC is right to disassociate themselves from him.
Steve M, Lympstone, UK

The BBC has no prerogative to defend racist band-wagonning
Robert Willoughby, London
Defending Kilroy by saying 'he's only said what many think' justifies nothing, except there are more ignorant people about than one might think. Nor is his 'freedom of speech' being infringed upon, Kilroy got his well-paid and ill-conceived views into the Sunday Express and his retaliation-come-lame-explanation in there as well. And if your free speech actually breaks the law, (yes we have laws in this country that curtail our ability to say what the hell we like!) then so mote it be. Meanwhile, the BBC has no prerogative to defend racist band-wagonning.
Robert Willoughby, London

Has everyone forgotten the pictures of many, many Arabs dancing in the streets after September 11th? Have you not heard the inflammatory comments that various Muslim 'leaders' have made against this country, its people, non-Muslims and the United States and yet they seemed to be allowed to continue to live here and make comments without fear of persecution.
Nicola, UK

Absolutely not! What is the country coming too? I thought we had freedom of speech and that gives us the right to express our opinions. Obviously I was given the wrong information when growing up! Perhaps we should attack countries who refer to all English holiday makers as drunken trouble makers?
Sarah, Nantwich, Cheshire

Why blame RKS for expressing what are probably the views that many people would express if they had the same platform? Also, why the fuss now when nothing was said when the article first came out? Every person regardless of ethnicity is entitled to express their opinions and I am sure this matter will make people look at the Arab states in a different light and make people realise what really goes on in these countries.
Gordo, Glenrothes, UK

What is this country coming to when someone is condemned for telling the truth?
If Kilroy-Silk lied - take him off the air
If he was malicious - take him off the air
If he was racist - take him off the air
He was non of these things.
Christine Ceaton,

Whilst I think Kilroy himself has not intended anything racist, what he said was still done with a severe lack of foresight. Free speech yes, but Kilroy should realise he's in a position to influence a lot of people, and also realised that his viewpoints might be taken to greater extremes than he intended. Opinions yes, inciting racial hatred (even if unintended), no.
Alex Gregory, Colchester, UK

If I offended our customers at work with disparaging comments about Arabs, Jews, White people, Black people, Indian or Pakistani people, I will be rightfully told to leave the company especially as I could be affecting our business with these groups and with anyone race offended by these comments. My company would not be "PC-Mad", they will be looking out for their customers.
DS, UK

Kilroy should NOT have been taken off the air. He is balanced, even tempered and intelligent. He has apologised for not making himself clear, in that he was writing about specific Arab Regimes operating at this present time. What more can he do? Please put him back on or I will boycott the BBC! (For goodness sake - he is really good at what he does!)
Mary Vogwell, Wiltshire

I pledge my full support, as many others do, for Robert Kilroy-Silk. I am not astonished at the BBC for its stance on the matter because it would seem that at every opportunity it is sympathetic with 'politically correct', repressive moaners. I hope that you come to your senses soon and give this up right Gentleman his show back.
Tony H, Leeds, England

if the BBC wants only to have presenters that do not dare court controversy then how do we debate and understand others views?
Tony Brown, Hampshire
Put simply, No! I hear many views spouted off on many like minded shows or paper columns it does not mean I have to agree with them, but if the BBC wants only to have presenters that do not dare court controversy then how do we debate and understand others views? In my view Kilroy was wrong but should never have been taken off the air.
Tony Brown, Hampshire

NO! Robert Kilroy-Silk's show should not have been taken off the air! Ashamedly, The BBC have not backed him. ANY person should be entitled to Freedom of Speech! Blatant racism or fabrications are obviously not acceptable. Robert Kilroy-Silk has not said or done ANYTHING that is not true. So why can he not be able to express his views?
Matt Shotter, Southampton, England

FREEDOM OF SPEECH!! I am sure that Mr Kilroy Silk has overwhelming public support from the very public who pay an extortionate license fee to the BBC! Surely the BBC must listen to the Publics opinion and reinstate him ASAP!
Andrew S, Birmingham

The beauty of the freedom of speech is that you have the freedom to reply.
K O'Mahony, Sawbridgeworth, UK

Whether or not I agree with Kilroy's comments is not and should not be the issue. The issue is whether or not he had the right to speak his mind, to talk freely. This is a country of free speech. By taking him off the air, you are censoring him and his ideas. The public should be allowed to decide whether or not they support him by just turning on or off the TV when his show comes on (which I hope it does again). I do not always agree with his opinions and that is my right. He pushed a button that required us all to think just a little more.
AB, Oxfordshire

While no great supporter of his talk show, its suspension is wholly unjustified. While the phrasing of his article was unfortunate in places, there is a ring of truth in much of what was said. Ironically I would doubt that someone in a similar position in one of these Arab states would have been censured in any respect.
Gren, Belfast UK

There is a difference between having the right to free speech and being immune from the consequences of exercising that right
Matt, London
Personally, I completely disagree with Kilroy's comments and find them offensive, but I do believe in the right to free speech. However, there is a difference between having the right to free speech and being immune from the consequences of exercising that right. Whilst Kilroy is entitled to hold his opinions and express them, the BBC is equally entitled to disassociate themselves from them. Kilroy would serve himself better by stopping acting as the injured party and take the consequences of his actions on the chin.
Matt, London

I hope the BBC do not reinstate Robert Kilroy-Silk. His comments were highly offensive and racist. I believe the BBC should stand for fairness. He has shown himself to be an unsuitable host for a BBC show through his refusal to withdraw his comments and make a full apology.
Suzanne, Bristol

Please add my name to those who support free speech in England. Kilroy was speaking for the silent majority. He just had the nerve in this politically correct land to say it. Put him back on the box and show that the BBC is free of political interference. The only limit to free speech should be incitement. Other than that I feel we should be able to say what we like, right or wrong.
Eddie Brant, Berkshire

I believe that his show should be put back on air. Many people disagree with what has happened although many people agree with the comments he said, we are all different and are all correct to speak our opinions!
Matthew, Swansea

Kilroy did NOT condemn Arab harsh regimes. He condemned all Arabs. The BBC can never allow one of their top talk show presenters to do this. It brings the whole of the BBC into disrepute if he is allowed to return. Of course I have no doubt that I will be in the minority as the whole of the Arab world and people have been demonised. Kilroy just fed the fire.
Bernard Jones, Caerphilly, Wales

Unlike some Arab states, we live in a free country with freedom of speech and that gives us the right to express our opinions. Why should we compromise our ideals so as not to upset some Muslims who complain about the West but still want to come and live here rather than their own Arab states? Or does Tolerance mean we have to ignore this blatant hypocrisy?
Nik, UK

I don't think free speech should be the real issue here. It's a case of making comments that could incite racial hatred. He can have his views, by all means, and talk about them with his friends. I don't think many people in this country are against free speech. But he must remember that when writing for a national newspaper, he is in a position where he can influence the beliefs of a lot of people, and his comments are ones that would incite racial hatred.

While he may have meant his comments to apply to 'certain Arab regimes', he should have known better than to put his comments forward in an ambiguous way that implicates all Arabic people. Thus it was silly and dangerous.
Naseem, London, UK

RKS is guilty of generalisation and judging the majority on the minority who give Arabs a bad name
Joanna, Dubai, UAE
I think because he was so generalising - that is where the problem lies - if he had singled out groups or states in the Arab world then his comments could have been more justified. Just as some Arabs claim all westerners are infidels and evil, this is hard to swallow for us - RKS is guilty of generalisation and judging the majority on the minority who give Arabs a bad name. He shouldn't be taken off the air though - everyone has an opinion and only when hearing all sides can we make a qualified decision on anything.
Joanna, Dubai, UAE

Kilroy should be free to express him opinions whatever they may be, as should we all, without reprisals. We seem to have Freedom of Speech so long as you only say certain things. Everyone is entitled to have and express their opinion in a non-violent way.
Stuart W, UK

After watching the Kilroy-Silk interview on Trevor McDonald's programme last night, I am disgusted and offended by what Kilroy-Silk had to say. His comments were racist. He made sweeping generalisations and assumptions about people from Arab communities. He contradicted himself by claiming that he wasn't making such generalisations about people, but about regimes - if you listened to what he had to say, it was clear that this was not the case. He had the nerve to ask who had he offended by his comments, well, Robert, you certainly offended me.
Marie (non-Arab), Birmingham, England

I wish to give support to Robert Kilroy-Silk. We have the right to give our personal opinions. The BBC went "a bit over the top" suspending him. I look forward to seeing him back on T.V. very soon. I would not be surprised if it is on I.T.V.
Cathy Wilkinson, Edinburgh

This is yet another example of political correctness gone mad. I am fed up with this country's PC obsession. The majority of people are intelligent and collected enough to know that Kilroy's comments were directed at CERTAIN ARAB REGIMES, and they are true. He was not putting all Arabs in the same basket and labelling them as evil, which of course would be ludicrous as he himself says. The minority of people who think he's racist should get some perspective. Get him back on the screens - if he's not too annoyed to come back!
Vicky, Nottingham, UK

Racism is not politically incorrect, it is harmful and dangerous.
DS, UK

I strongly feel that the BBC have totally overreacted. Robert Kilroy Silk was expressing his views about despotic regimes. This is not Racist, but in this politically correct climate, is free speech ruled out.
Annie Roberts, Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria

Whatever you may think of Kilroy's comments and how unnecessarily provocative they were; Britain still has freedom of speech and it does not surprise me he has had so much support - it's a backlash against the suffocating political correctness of the past few years. People are tired of being told what to think.
Sarah,

Try reading an Arab newspaper and see what they have to say about the Britain, and the West, before being too judgmental of Kilroy.
Nick, Maidenhead

The question at hand is not freedom of speech. It relates to tolerance of other religions and races. Arabs and Muslims make up a good portion of residents in the UK. I do not believe Kilroy-Silk has done anyone any good by making those comments.
Mohammed el Korek, Dubai, UAE

He did not specifically say all Arabs, thus it is not a racist rant as many Muslim and Arab leaders have said
Asos, Manchester, England
I think that Mr Kilroy has every right to express his views. The Arabs as well as the BBC have gone over the top. I think he is brave saying what he said when 99% of celebrities and those on TV shun themselves away from such topics. I believe his comments to be true as he did not specifically say all Arabs, thus it is not a racist rant as many Muslim and Arab leaders have said.
Asos, Manchester, England

Having lived in the Middle East for some ten years. I have seen at first hand many of the things Kilroy has highlighted, and they should be raised. This is a free country where we can speak our minds and I think that Kilroy did exactly that. Long live the democratic society where free speech is permitted, unlike those Arab States who suppress not only free speech but freedom.
Gordon Jones, Hampshire

If Kilroy's comments were false he should go - BUT - as they appear to be true of some regimes he should be allowed to have his say. These regimes won't improve if they are ignored -they need some daylight shedding on their activities. Put Kilroy back on air.
Ian, Merseyside, England

I totally agree with the OPINION Kilroy's expressed. He has had the courage to voice a feeling, which I believe most English people agree with - however we are too scared to say what he has said, for fear of reprisal. It is foolish to dismiss criticism of a different culture as racism - when the facts are that certain minorities of races, religions, and governments are fundamentally evil. I include in that, many western civilisations.
Charlie Shepley, Manchester

The BBC broadcast to a multi-ethnic, multi-faith community. They are absolutely correct to ditch people who's personal philosophy is racist and inflammatory. This may be fine for newspapers but not the sort person for public service broadcasting. Well done BBC for acting quickly!
Andrew Johnson, Wallingford, Oxfordshire

How can the BBC have to right to take Kilroy's show, when he did not use his show as a platform for his comments, he was not working for the BBC when he wrote the article whatever the content. England is becoming a very repressive state to live in, every day we hear of new laws being bought out most of them the way we live and freedom of speech. God help England when it is taken into Europe by Blair's stealth, it really will be a repressive state to live in.
R Evans, England

Sometimes telling the truth hurts. Now days it seems like we can't say anything to Muslims or Arabs with out someone taking it the wrong way. Political correctness has gone to far.
D Patel, UK

The BBC was wrong to suspend the Kilroy show. I am appalled that in this country now anyone that speaks out about other nations or topics about Muslims/Arabs are persecuted. Why don't people make a fuss when a Muslim cleric comes out with 'Death to America' amongst other things? Well done Kilroy, hopefully you have opened up a debate that this country needs!
Mr Graham Bradley, Braintree UK

I agree with the BBC. Incitement to racial hatred is not acceptable in today's Britain. His views are offensive and play into the hands of racists. He did not have the decency to make a full apology and is revelling in his new-found role as a martyr, which he isn't. Please keep him off the air.
Dina, London

The way to confront such views is by exposing them through engagement in rational argument
Gerald Davies, Wales
By stopping the show the BBC has given Kilroy the chance to play victim. In a way Kilroy is right to say that freedom of speech is being eroded in this country in that contentious opinions are likely to be suppressed. His opinions in this case were obnoxious and ignorant, but the way to confront such views is by exposing them through engagement in rational argument. Invoking the thought police merely gives cause for a small minority to think there's "something they don't want us to know", and so give false credence to an untenable position.
Gerald Davies, Wales

Yes! Yes! He must not come back. The BBC has done the right thing! What would have happen if an Arab or someone else in place of "Kilroy" had made comments about the Brits? I am sure the Brits would have made a big thing out of it. He must not come back.
Sanjay, LONDON

It is a pity that Kilroy did not emphasise clearly enough the distinction between Arab states and Arabs. Otherwise there are many people including myself who agree with him. I have admired and watched his shows for years and he has always been a true professional.
John Kirtley, Exeter






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