Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce called Roberto Gocan, 35, to apologise for describing him as ‘the Black guy’ on air. The broadcaster said she was ‘wrong to identify him as I did’
Fiona Bruce made a personal phone call to the audience member at the centre of the Question Time race controversy.
The BBC broadcaster, 59, telephoned Roberto Gocan, 35, to apologise for describing him as “the Black guy” on air while identifying others offering comments and questions by their clothing. Bruce and the BBC publicly apologised around Friday lunchtime after viewers voiced their disapproval.
But The Mirror can reveal she’d already taken action personally to address the problem by calling Gocan Friday morning at 10.50am. “I’m not going to speak too much about the conversation we had,” Gocan told The Mirror. “But she called me personally and I do rate her for that.
“She has given her public explanation which was clearly worded from the statement they put out. I’ll just say it was similar to that. Micro-aggressions should be highlighted across the board,” he went on. “But I’m not looking to have a witch-hunt against Fiona Bruce.”
It was during a live recording of Thursday night’s topical news show that Bruce asked Gocan to put his question to the panel. BBC bosses took the decision to delete her racial description of him, however, from the version uploaded to iPlayer.
Explaining what had happened during the recording, Roberto said: “I’d raised my had to make a point regarding the topic which was the banning of mobile phones in schools. I saw Fiona point to the floor staff with the microphones to direct them to me, as if to say: ‘He’s next.’ I had my hand raised and then she said: ‘Yes, you. The Black guy.’ It took me aback at the time because I wasn’t expecting it. I remember thinking at the time that everyone else was being described by what they were wearing, glasses and clothing. But then it all moved on so quickly.
“I remember talking to a family member later in the evening about the show and saying that I was going to watch it back to check that I’d heard right. But that part was edited out of the show. I did see the video on Twitter though. That’s why I tweeted about it the next morning.”
Bruce and the BBC apologised on Friday for causing offence with the presenter saying it was “wrong to identify him as I did”. Among her critics on social media – where she trended throughout the day – former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal posted the original clip on X, formerly Twitter, writing: ‘Let’s hear from the “black guy”’.
Gocan went on: “Even though I was uncomfortable with what happened, I didn’t expect a big hoo-haa about it because I don’t have that many followers. I have had this kind of thing before but I didn’t expect to get it in this situation.”