Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Stu Peters: Manx Radio host suspended over Black Lives Matter comments

Stu Peters Image copyright Manx Radio
Image caption Stu Peters will not be presenting The Late Show while an investigation takes place, Manx Radio said

A radio presenter who questioned the issue of "white privilege" in relation to the Black Lives Matter protests has been suspended.

Manx Radio took Stu Peters off air after Wednesday's programme in which a black caller challenged him for writing "all lives matter" in an online forum.

"I've had no more privilege in my life than you have. I'm a white man, you're a black man," he told Jordan Maguire.

Manx Radio said it had referred the issue to the Communications Commission.

Mr Peters declined to comment when contacted by the BBC.

Manx Radio's managing director Chris Sully said: "Stu Peters will not be presenting the Late Show whilst an investigation takes place.

"We await [the Commission's] guidance on any potential breach of the Broadcast Code.

"Manx Radio does not condone racism in any form amongst its staff.

"We are actively working with the caller involved to develop some ideas to debate the issues involved."

The Isle of Man's Communications Commission confirmed it was "investigating comments made" on the programme.

'Protest'

The phrase "all lives matter" has stirred controversy since critics argue it undermines the importance of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Protests have been held around the world following the death of George Floyd in the US city of Minneapolis on 25 May.

The 46-year-old African American died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded that he could not breathe.

A Black Lives Matter protest is due to be held in the Manx capital Douglas on Tuesday at 12:00 BST.

'Disturbing'

Speaking on his programme, Mr Peters said he "can understand" why the movement had begun in America, but expressed incredulity at how protests had spread around the globe.

He said: "What I can't understand is why people around the rest of the world are protesting, and specifically in the Isle of Man. Why you would have a protest outside of Tynwald about it?"

Chief Minister Howard Quayle said the death of Mr Floyd was a "shocking, and a disturbing incident", adding "we hope that justice will prevail".

He added: "I have been told that Manx Radio is now investigating what happened, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment any further while that investigation is under way."

Mr Peters, who was born and grew up in and around Manchester, moved to Douglas in 1997.

He has worked on several Manx Radio shows, most recently including The Late Show: Stu Peters; Late, Live & Unleashed!

George Ferguson will cover Mr Peters' absence.

Programme transcript

Stu Peters (SP): Let's go to line one, I think we've got somebody else who wants to have a quick word. Hello, this is Manx Radio.

Jordan Maguire (JM): Hi, my name's Jordan. I am a black man that lives on the Isle of Man.

SP: OK Jordan.

JM: Yeah, and I'm calling in reference to a post that you made stating "I expect" - is this Stu Peters, sorry?

SP: It is, yeah.

JM: Yeah, it says: "I expect the protest would be in front of the US embassy in Douglas, otherwise an Isle of Man protest about police brutality in America makes no sense except as a virtue signalling snowstorm. In other news, saw this on a graph earlier, in 2018 the US had around 50,000 white on black violent crimes compared with 400,000 black on black and around 550,000 black on white violent crimes.

SP: Yes.

JM: "All lives matter" in capitals. There so many things wrong with this I honestly don't know where to start but…

SP: Well, no, go ahead. If you…

JM: I haven't even got to my point. The fact that you're starting that, insinuating a Manx protest over police brutality is pointless unless it's in a destination that you deem fit is absurd, first of all.

SP: We'll why are demonstrating outside of Tynwald?

JM: Why can't I?

SP: You can demonstrate anywhere you like but it doesn't make any sense to me, which is the point that I was trying to make on the Manx Forums thread.

JM: Explain why that doesn't make sense to you.

SP: I don't understand why people on the Isle of Man are protesting in support of Black Lives Matter in America, which is 3,000 miles away.

JM: Right, ok, so if people are breaking human rights anywhere around the world, that doesn't make sense to you that we would stand up for it?

SP: But who are you standing…

JM: Let's think about World War One. The official records show that 8,261 Manx men enlisted in the armed forces, which was 82.3% of the Isle of Man's male population at the military age. Of these, 1,165 gave their lives and 987 were wounded. As these lives weren't taken on our soil does it change what they fought for, or the atrocities that they had to endure? And I'm in no way comparing their sacrifices to that or protesters. The location of the war you fight has no bearing on the reasoning or the validity of.

SP: I just…

JM: And I want to understand why you think that, just because lives are being brutalised and oppressed in a country, anywhere around the world not just in America, why it doesn't matter to you.

SP: Alright, can I speak for a second?

JM: I'd love you to.

SP: OK, I think that what happened to George Floyd is despicable. I think that what that police office did is probably criminal but we've got to wait until the courts decide that. But I think that what that man did is that he murdered George Floyd and I think that's awful. I can understand to a point why people, I can understand very clearly why people in America are protesting about it. I can understand why Black Lives Matter - and American organisation - is protesting about it. But what I can't understand is why people around the rest of the world are protesting, and specifically in the Isle of Man, why you would have a protest outside of Tynwald about it?

JM: OK, so, when you're saying "all lives matter" that first of all is just derogatory and ridiculous…

SP: No, it's not derogatory.

JM: For all lives - listen - for all lives to matter we have to raise the people of all creed, colours, religions to the level that white people's privilege allows them to be. For all lives to matter, black and other…

SP: I've had no more privilege in my life than you have Jordan.

JM: Excuse me?

SP: I've had no more privilege in my life than you have. I'm a white man, you're a black man you say.

JM: If you believe that then you're already - this is exactly what white privilege is. I'm not saying that you haven't, like, endured anything in your life. But you have automatically - the system is built for you to win already. I have to go through everything in my daily life, and I have to go through these things that you don't see so you don't think they exist. Or, I kind of believe that you're an intellectual man to a degree. You're either extremely ignorant or extremely - I don't know what you are, but I'm not talking with you any longer…

SP: Well…

JM: With that kind of opinion.

SP: I think…

JM: I hope that you can be saved from your own ignorance and I encourage you to enlighten yourself.

SP: Well…

JM: On issues that people such as myself have to face every single day, and both realise and empathise with the - the world that we live in is far from a [level] playing field....

SP: Can I speak again or are you just going to rant?

JM: Being on this earth. Goodbye.

SP: You're just going to rant. OK. Well, that was good. Let's move on, we've got somebody else on line two. Hello, this is Late, Live and Unleashed, apparently.

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