ITV has been accused of “racism” by furious social media users after advertising an internship for its flagship Peston on Sunday political programme which excludes certain candidates on the basis of race.
Presenter Robert Peston, a BBC hire who became ITV’s political editor, tweeted out a message on June 8th telling followers that he and his team were “looking for an intern keen to learn about production and excited by politics”.
— Robert Peston (@Peston) July 8, 2017
Social media users soon realised that Creative Access, the company tasked with placing the intern, was excluding candidates based on race, with the post “only open to UK nationals from a black, Asian or non-white ethnic minority” to work on the show in London – where ‘White British’ people are already a minority, according to the latest census.
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) July 8, 2017
Of the hundreds of social media users who responded angrily to Peston, many expressed disbelief that ITV’s hiring policy was legal.
Government guidance suggests that “it is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of race, including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin”.
— Phil (@Blackbirds1632) July 8, 2017
It has, in fact, been open to employers to hire Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) job applicants over equally qualified white applicants under so-called ‘positive action‘ provisions since April 2011.
However, these provisions did not allow companies to exclude white people from the applications process entirely in the way Creative Access has, advising that their hiring process is “only open to UK nationals from a black, Asian or non-white ethnic minority [and] only applications via Creative Access will be considered – please DO NOT contact companies directly”.
Instead, their exclusion of white people seems to rely on their status as a so-called ‘Community Interest Company‘.
Could you clarify exactly which skin tones are deemed acceptable? Perhaps some kind of Dulux paint chart for people to compare against.
— Gary Conway (@gazcon) July 8, 2017
Banning white people from applying for certain jobs in order to achieve better “representation” has become controversial for practical reasons, as well as moral and ethical reasons, in recent years.
White people do continue to be well-represented in most fields on a racial basis – perhaps unsurprising in a country which was over 99 per cent white within living memory.
But when social class is considered as well, White British people from a working-class background have in many respects the worst prospects of any demographic in the United Kingdom, according to Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) research.
This angers me not just because it’s discriminative to whites, but also Id want to be considered for my skills not because I’m black!? #2017
— Anton Welcome (@welcome_anton) July 8, 2017
Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery