Letter to BBC re: Brandt Jean video ‘cut’

Photo courtesy of Flickr / Eric Kilby, under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence
Photo courtesy of Flickr / Eric Kilby, under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licence

On 3 October the BBC News website shared a remarkable video from the trial of former U.S. policewoman Amber Guyger for the murder of Botham Jean. The video showed Botham Jean’s brother, Brandt, declaring his unconditional forgiveness of his brother’s murderer before embracing her in the middle of the courtroom.

Except the BBC’s ‘cut’ of this video excised the motivation behind Brandt Jean’s remarkable act of forgiveness: his Christian faith.

Below is the text of the letter I sent this week to BBC Complaints in Darlington expressing my dismay at yet another cynical act of censorship by the BBC News website.

The letter which I sent to BBC Complaints this week
The letter which I sent to BBC Complaints this week

Mr. Graham Harter
[address supplied]

BBC Complaints
PO Box 1922

Monday, 7 October 2019

Re: Coverage of Brandt Jean’s forgiveness of brother’s killer on BBC News website

Dear Sir/Madam,

a number of years ago, a work colleague showed me a little experiment. He fed the same search term into google.co.uk and into its Chinese equivalent, google.cn. The search term was “Tiananmen Square.” The former search brought up image after image of a Chinese student standing in front of a tank. The latter brought up no such images at all.

It is difficult not to see echoes of this kind of censorship in the BBC News website’s recent portrayal of the moving scenes of Brandt Jean’s forgiveness of his brother’s killer in a U.S. court, as presented on this page from 3 October:


The BBC News website’s ‘cut’ of this video entirely omits any reference to Brandt Jean’s motivation for such a startling act of forgiveness: his own, and his brother’s, Christian faith.

A longer video of the same event shows this motivation very clearly:


Comparing these two videos, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the BBC News website is deliberately censoring the Christian element of this story. Why? Is the BBC News website so left-wing biassed and atheistic that it can’t bring itself to admit that there could be anything good about the Christian faith, or that the Christian faith might move a person to such a remarkable act?

How, moreover, does this piece of editorial cutting square with the BBC’s remit to impartiality? Is the BBC impartial until it is required to report on something it is embarrassed by, namely, Christianity?

Yours sincerely,

Mr. Graham Harter


Update, 13 November 2019

I have since received a reply to this letter from BBC Audience Services, which you can find here.



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