Channel 4 newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy has apologised “unreservedly” to Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker after swearing at him in an “unguarded moment”. The broadcaster said the remark followed a “robust interview” with Baker, but it was “beneath the standards I set myself”.
It comes after yet another tumultuous day in Westminster which saw Suella Braverman resign as Home Secretary, Prime Minister Liz Truss’ senior No 10 adviser Jason Stein suspended, the Prime Minister grilled during PMQs and rumours that the 1922 Committee could change Tory Party rules to have Truss ousted.
Truss has faced mounting calls to resign as Prime Minister, having only begun her premiership on 6 September when she travelled to Balmoral to be officially inducted into the role by the Queen after winning the Tory leadership race the day before.
What did Krishnan Guru-Murthy say to Steve Baker?
After conducting an interview in which Guru-Murthy was questioning Baker about Suella Braverman’s resignation as Home Secretary following her “tofu-eating wokerati” comments, a clip emerged online in which the journalist was heard arguing with the Tory minister.
The clip itself came not from Channel 4’s broadcast but from a live feed of Downing Street where the interview had been held.
Guru-Murthy could be heard saying: “Thanks a lot Steve! It wasn’t a stupid question Steve, you know it. I’m very happy to go up against you on trust any day.”
The broadcaster could then be heard laughing before saying “what a c**t” to himself.
Has he apologised?
On Twitter, Guru-Murthy said in a statement that he apologises “unreservedly” for the “offensive word” that he used.
Guru-Murthy wrote: “After a robust interview with Steve Baker MP I used a very offensive word in an unguarded moment off air. While it was not broadcast that word in any context is beneath the standards I set myself and I apologise unreservedly. I have reached out to Steve Baker to say sorry.”
Guru-Murthy’s apology on Twitter has received a mixed reaction, with some applauding the broadcaster - and others calling for him to resign.
In a reply to his tweet, one person wrote: “I mean, speaking for the nation [to be honest].”
“You don’t need to apologise for using accurate language,” tweeted another user.
Another tweeted: “A newsreader calling someone a c**t when he thought he was off air, was the highlight of my day. Normalise not being a c**t, and if people are being c**ts, normalise calling c**ts: C**ts.”
Taking umbrage with the incident however, one person wrote: “I demand you resign immediately, you are not on my list of complaints to Ofcom as it’s about time they stood up for us the viewers. It’s almost impossible to get proper reporting, just yours and others politics [sic]. Resign immediately…”
Another added: “Any person in any job who said that about anyone, would be sacked. Apology doesn’t cut it. It shows what you think, you are supposed to be impartial. You are anything but. You should resign.”
What has Steve Baker said?
Responding to Guru-Murthy on Twitter, Baker said: “I appreciate you apologising. Thank you.”
However, while speaking on Times Radio with John Pienaar, Baker said that he hopes that Channel 4 fires the journalist over the incident.
He said: “I had an interview with a journalist I don’t have a great deal of regard for, who I felt always misrepresented the situation through the construction of his question, which I called out, I think live on air, or I thought it was pre-record.
“And he clearly didn’t like that, quite right, too. But I’d be quite honest, I spent a long time live on air, calling him out on his contact as a journalist and glad to do so any time. But it’s most unfortunate that he had sworn on air like that.
“If it’s in breach of his code of conduct, I do hope they sack him - it would be a service to the public.”
Has he been suspended?
It has been announced that Guru-Murthy has been taken off the air for a week after swearing at Baker.
A statement from Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 has a strict code of conduct for all its employees, including its programming teams and on-air presenters, and takes any breaches seriously. Following an off-air incident Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy has been taken off air for a week.”
Krishnan Guru-Murthy will not return to Channel 4 News before November 4th due to a pre-existing week of leave.