Outrageous Victim Blaming & British Student Protests!

I realised this probably isn’t entirely a feminist issue but I am so shocked and outraged by this that I had to comment on it.

The BBC interviewed a man who is wheelchair bound due to cerebral palsy (clip here). The interviewer, who the BBC are defending, repeatedly asks the man multiple times if he in anyway provoked armed policemen to drag him from his wheelchair across the road. The man explains early in the interview that he doesn’t have the use of his arms, but the interviewer (Ben Brown) continues to ask him questions that insinuate he provoked the police to do this to him.

The BBC have defended this as “asking challenging questions” to the man, as they would anyone. This is absolutely ridiculous because I’m pretty sure if it was a rape victim they were interviewing they wouldn’t be challenging the victim by asking if it was the short skirt she was wearing or a low-cut t-shirt which provoked someone to attack her. As a comment I saw elsewhere on the BBC website said – would they have challenged Prince Charles in the same way when to see if he somehow provoked the attack on his vehicle?

This is victim blaming pure and simple, even if it was simply insinuated by the line of questioning. As the young man himself says – how could he as a disabled person in a wheelchair be any kind of threat to armed police that would justify pulling him out of his wheelchair and dragging him across the road to where they dumped him on the ground?

Complaints can be made here.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/smiles/ Smiley


    A little over the top, don’t you think?

    The interviewer did his job; I thought he was more than fair. And he did not ask the man “multiple times ” (if he in anyway provoked armed policemen to drag him from his wheelchair across the road).

    The footage of the man being dragged from his wheelchair was shown three or four times during the interview.

    It is only right that the interview should ask if the man if he provoked the police. Because the viewers would be asking themselves that question, and would be annoyed if the question wasn’t asked.

    It is proper interviewing and is much to be preferred to docility and lobbing easy and predictable questions at guests. More power to the press, I say.

  • http://feministing.com/members/laraemily/ Lara Emily Foley

    It started off fine but then the interviewer became more antagonistic as the interview went on, had he dropped the subject of provocation after asking if he was rolling to towards the police. I don’t think there would have been any outcry, but he didn’t even after McIntyre explained that he can’t actually use his hands and can’t move his wheelchair himself, he was asked later on in a rather badgering tone if he had thrown something at the police (how can you throw something at the police if you can’t use your freaking hands) and then when he said no, the interviewer then said but you call yourself a revolutionary again in an aggressive tone. As if that word meant he must have done something to deserve the brutality.