By Robin de Peyer
The BBC has been forced to apologise to an employee of Tower Hamlets Council after she claimed she was misrepresented in an interview she conducted with Newsnight.
Working mother Shanene Thorpe was interviewed by Newsnight’s Political Editor Allegra Stratton in connection with changes to housing benefit and welfare reform.
Shanene, who receives housing benefit, complained that the report created an unfair and inaccurate impression of her situation, by implying that she is unemployed, when in fact she works for Tower Hamlets council. She also claimed that in the full, unedited version of the interview, she was asked why she chose to keep her child.
Following the broadcast of the interview on Wednesday May 23, Shanene started an online petition to demand an apology from Newsnight. However, it was not until today (Wednesday) that she received the apology, after a week of pressure and more than 20,000 signatures on her online petition. The BBC issued a statement this morning, saying: “Newsnight was sorry to hear Shanene Thorpe was unhappy following her interview. While the BBC is still yet to receive a formal complaint, Newsnight contacted Shanene to hear her concerns.We are happy to accept her contention that her current situation was not made clear and have apologised.”
After the report, Shanene was forced to take to Twitter to clarify her situation, and air her grievances about the way she was portrayed. She Tweeted: “To set the record straight, I work for Tower Hamlets council, I’ve worked since 16 and only get help towards my rent because it is so high.”
Introducing her online petition, she added:
“I did not expect to be personally scrutinised, have judgements made about my choices and asked why I didn’t choose to get rid of my child“