Fiona Bruce pictured for the first time since Question Time race row10/10/2023
Fiona Bruce is seen in public for the first time since BBC Question Time race row over her describing an audience member as ‘the black guy’
Fiona Bruce has been pictured in public for the first time since becoming embroiled in a BBC Question Time race row after she described an audience member as ‘the black guy’.
On Thursday night’s episode of the BBC One show, the presenter asked Roberto Gocan, 35, from the audience to put his question to the panel – but her racial description was edited out when it was uploaded to iPlayer.
She has since apologised for causing offence and has personally phoned Gocan, saying it was ‘wrong to identify him as I did’.
Bruce, 59, was snapped leaving a restaurant in Soho, London on Monday night after going for a meal with a friend for the first time since the row began.
Her arm was still in a sling after breaking her arm during a nasty fall from a horse, which also gave her a nasty black eye.
Out and about: Fiona Bruce has been pictured in public for the first time since becoming embroiled in a BBC Question Time race row
Smiling: Bruce, 59, was snapped leaving a restaurant in Soho, London on Monday night after going for a meal with a friend
She kept it casual by pairing a blazer with a pair of trainers while opting for minimal make-up compared to the heavy make-up for the Question Time studio.
It comes after Roberto Gocan – the man in the Question Time audience – came forward, wanting to know why the broadcaster deleted the clip.
Ms Bruce called him at 10.50am on Friday after the row blew up.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said: ‘I’m not going to speak too much about the conversation we had. But she called me personally and I do rate her for that.’
During the live broadcast, there did not appear to be an immediate reaction to her comment by the man in question or anybody else in the audience. However, the remarks drew fury from some on social media.
On Facebook, Mr Gocan himself questioned why the clip had been deleted. He wrote: ‘ Dear BBC, Why did you cut out Fiona Bruce saying “the black guy in the middle” in the BBC One showing of BBC Question Time last night?
‘It was audible on the live showing on BBC iPlayer. Why edit it if you think she said nothing wrong?
‘Yours Sincerely, The guy in the blue top.’
Mr Roberto said the situation ‘took him back’ because he wasn’t expecting it.
Evening out: She kept it casual by pairing with a pair of trainers while opting for minimal make-up compared to the heavy make-up for the Question Time studio
Injury: Her arm was still in a sling after breaking her arm during a nasty fall from a horse, which also gave her a nasty black eye
Controversy: Bruce has been involved in a ‘racism row’ since Thursday night’s Question Time episode
Row: In Thursday night’s broadcast of the show on BBC One, the host asked Roberto Gocan (pictured) from the audience to put his question to the panel
Topical news panel show Question Time has been thrown into a race row after the BBC deleted a clip of Fiona Bruce (pictured) referring to an audience member as a ‘black guy’
Mr Gocan said: ‘I’m not going to speak too much about the conversation we had. But she called me personally and I do rate her for that’
On Facebook , Mr Gocan himself questioned why the clip had been deleted by the BBC
He added: ‘I remember thinking at the time that everyone else was being described by what they were wearing, glasses and clothing. But then it all moved on so quickly.’
READ MORE: Question Time racism row as BBC deletes clip of Fiona Bruce referring to audience member as ‘black guy’ while presenter apologises for ‘causing offence’
‘I remember talking to a family member later in the evening about the show and saying that I was going to watch it back to check that I’d heard right. But that part was edited out of the show,’ he said.
Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal posted the original clip on X, formerly Twitter, writing: ‘Let’s hear from the ‘black guy”.
She had asked the audience in Wolverhampton: ‘Is it right to ban mobile phones in schools?’
The BBC presenter, whose arm was in a sling after she fell off her horse, took a question wearing a ‘colourful top’ and when asking for input from another audience member pointed to a ‘guy there in the middle… the black guy in the middle, yes you, sir.’
No one in the studio made a reaction to the comment and the audience member then asked a question about limiting mobile use in schools as well as government funding.
In the version of the programme uploaded to BBC iPlayer, Bruce says, ‘the guy in the middle, yes you, sir’, with the ‘black guy’ description removed.
Fiona Bruce pictured today with a black eye and her arm in a sling after she fell off her horse in a recent accident
On Facebook , Mr Gocan himself questioned why the clip had been deleted in a post addressed to the BBC, he ended it with ”=Yours Sincerely, The guy in the blue top’
The BBC have since confirmed that Ms Bruce’s comment had been edited out and she has since directly apologised to the audience member. The presenter said: ‘I totally understand why my words last night caused offence and I apologise.
‘I have spoken to the audience member directly and explained that usually I can see and describe an item of clothing or otherwise to help sound engineers with a microphone find people in the audience.
‘Last night that was not the case as my view was obscured. In the split second I had, the easiest thing to do would have been to ignore the audience member and move on, but I felt strongly that his voice should be heard.
‘Nonetheless, I feel it was wrong to identify him as I did and that’s why it was removed from the later edited programme.’
Ms Bruce’s personal apology to the member of the audience is understood to have been positively received.
Mr Roberto said the situation on Question Time ‘took him back’ because he wasn’t expecting it
Sitting on the panel on last night’s Question Time were (left to right) journalist and author and Tony Parsons, writer Emma Dabiri Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth, host Fiona Bruce, Transport Minister Richard Holden and Iceland supermarket executive Richard Walker
Ms Bruce’s personal apology to the member of the audience is understood to have been positively received
A spokesperson for the BBC said: ‘We regret the choice of words used to identify the audience member.
‘The intent was to ensure his voice was heard, however we recognise we should not have identified him in this way and apologise for any offence caused.
‘As such the recorded version on iPlayer has been edited to remove this.’
Sitting on the panel on last night’s Question Time were Transport Minister Richard Holden, Shadow Paymaster General Jonathan Ashworth, writer Emma Dabiri, Iceland supermarket executive Richard Walker and journalist and author Tony Parsons.
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