Did BBC radio presenter go too far with ‘racist’ Somali Olympic sailing team joke?


A BBC radio presenter has made reference to Somalian pirates while discussing the Somali Olympic team’s results at a sailing event in Rio .

The joke was made on BBC Cumbria’s late show with Ian Timms on Tuesday, August 9.

But now it’s being questioned whether the joke was a little too controversial, with some calling it “savage” while others think it’s just a bit of fun.

In the clip, Ian says: “We’ve got some sailing results from the Olympics in Rio tonight. Team GB have taken gold, Denmark have taken silver, and Somalia have taken a middle-aged couple who were sailing around the world.

BBC radio presenter Ian Timms
BBC radio presenter Ian Timms made the comment on his late night show

He adds: “The Somali Olympic coach has had to apologise to officials on behalf of the team after realising that shooting and sailing were, in fact, different events.”

Without another word, Timms then plays the next song.

Mohamed Mohamed (SOM) of Somalia leads his contingent during the opening ceremony
Mohamed Mohamed of Somalia leads his team during the opening ceremony
REUTERSFlagbearer Mohamed Mohamed (SOM) of Somalia leads his contingent during the opening ceremony
The jokes have divided opinion on Twitter

Several social media users have quoted the joke on Twitter during several different sailing events without comment. However one user wrote: “Savage,” in response to the joke.

Another added: “No one likes a racist. Stop making such insensitive comments against a poor country.”


Mirror.co.uk has approached the BBC for comment.

The incident comes after the BBC were forced to apologise after an Olympic commentator’s ‘homophobic’ remark sparked outrage online.

Tennis presenter Paul Hand joked “let’s hope they don’t go on to two blokes sat next to each other” during kisscam footage of couples in Rio.

Rebecca Adlington also came under the spotlight when she was seen resting her hand on Mark Foster’s leg during the coverage on the Olympic swimming events.

Twitter quickly went into meltdown with one viewer writing: “Watching the Olympics highlights! It couldn’t be more obvious that there’s something going on between Rebecca Adlington & Mark Foster!”

Helen Skeleton also viewers wild hosting poolside in Brazil in a short dress .



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