Children's TV presenter says BBC put hot chocolate on her face because 'they didn't have make-up for black people'
The former TV host, comedian, and a regular on Blue Peter, London Hughes, recently highlighted how broadcasters are not measuring up on diversity .
A children's television presenter with the BBC has accused the broadcasting corporation of dabbing hot chocolate on her face, because they did not have the right make-up products to complement her skin tone, according to reports.
The former TV host, comedian, and a regular on Blue Peter, London Hughes, recently highlighted how broadcasters are not measuring up on diversity and also illustrated the "well-intentioned" racism that she regularly encounters in her work.
"I used to present on CBBC and one of the make-up artists there put hot chocolate on my face because she didn’t have any make-up for black people. That was in 2012," Hughes said while talking to Fortunately podcast.
So I recently appeared on the #Fortunately podcast, I spoke about some of the racism I’ve experienced in my career and it’s only gone and made the papers!— London Hughes (@TheLondonHughes) 4 November 2018
I am so happy people are starting to listen! We need more upfront and honest dialogue about thishttps://t.co/FfupiwG9px
"She didn’t realize I was black [in advance] so she panicked. She had Waitrose organic hot chocolate. She didn’t tell me that she was putting it on my face, I found it in her make-up kit. I asked my producer to ask her what she put on my face and she confessed that it was hot chocolate. In her defense, she didn’t put Tesco’s own brand on there, it was Waitrose organic at least," the 29-year-old added.
The former TV host also said that she experienced stereotyping during a BBC residential writers course in Kent where she was asked to develop a sitcom for Radio 4. Hughes, while speaking on a BBC podcast, talked about an instance where she was encouraged to write a Radio 4 sitcom based on her parents "coming over from Africa on the boat." She was encouraged to do despite this not being her parents' background, according to the Daily Mail.
"One day a woman came in to help with our writing and she was so lovely, but I was talking about one of my characters and she said, “Oh, maybe you should write about your characters’ parents”, and I said, “Yeah OK, maybe I can include my parents?” And she was like, “Yeah, maybe include their history or how they felt when they came here on the boat from Africa”. So I said, “Erm, my dad was born in Crawley and my mum was born in Jamaica, but she definitely came here by plane”. And she was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry”.
'She wasn’t being horrible, but that’s just what she thought," Hughes said referring to the instance.
While speaking during the podcast, Hughes also mentioned the awkward moments she often encountered with her BBC colleagues where they were not sure how to greet a young, black woman. "When they meet me at meetings, [I say], don’t greet me with a fist bump, greet me with a handshake... That’s happened a few times. Don’t fist-bump me at all," she said.
Shortly after Hughes' statement, a BBC spokesperson said: "We are unable to verify what London has said as we don’t appear to have any record of this. But everyone in the broadcasting industry knows how seriously we take diversity and reflecting modern Britain, as evidenced by our output and representation targets."