Monday 27 January 2020 by Neil Tollfree

BBC apologises for using footage of Billy Ocean in news report of Kobe Bryant’s death


Billy Ocean BBC coverage of Kobe Bryant

The BBC has apologised for mistakenly using footage of soul singer Billy Ocean instead of Kobe Bryant during a report on the basketball legend’s death.

The Sunday evening News at Ten opened with the sombre announcement that Kobe Bryant had died over footage of Billy Ocean performing his hit Caribbean Queen.

“I am tremendously sorry for the mistake,” said News at Ten editor Paul Royall.

“We had to put together the package very quickly and we must have got a little mixed up between these two prominent black people.

“It could have been worse, I suppose, we could have used footage of Robert Mugabe or Idi Amin.

“So, whilst it wasn’t entirely accurate, at least Billy Ocean is a really great singer, and I would imagine that black people are as proud of him as they are of Kobe Bryant.”

Mr Royall insisted that there was nothing racist about getting two black people mixed up.

“No, I don’t think so. I mean, yes, sometimes blacks can be hard to tell apart and perhaps that’s what happened here, but racist? Not at all. If anything, having Billy Ocean as the top story on News at Ten is a compliment.”

It is expected that the BBC will issue an apology later today for using footage of Colin Powell in a BBC Breakfast report on Bryant’s death.

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