When Holmes learned he was being axed from Radio 4’s The Now Show, bosses told him it was being recast “with more women and diversity.”
Jon Holmes: I’m Fully In Favour of Diversity, Unless It Actually Means Fewer Opportunities For White Men.https://t.co/5JugtavQbs
— Andy Hinton (@achinton) October 2, 2016
The decision caused Holmes to ponder, “should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man?’”
Jon Holmes, successful comedian, white & sacked so BBC can meet positive discrimination targets shows why such schemes are counterproductive
— Tamara (@Tamara_writer) October 2, 2016
According to Holmes, BBC bosses told him privately that political correctness had “all got out of hand.”
He claims to have been contacted by many people in the business who feel diversity has gone too far.
“What if just the best human got the job, irrespective of anything?” he asked in a piece written for the Mail on Sunday.
Holmes later sought to distance himself from the Mail article, tweeting that he had not contacted them to write the piece.
The BBC responded to the outrage stating that “while the government’s new charter for the BBC does set us diversity targets, we always hire presenters on merit.”
“We’d like to thank Jon Holmes for his contribution but our comedy shows are constantly evolving and it was simply time to create opportunities for new regulars when The Now Show returns this autumn,” the BBC said in a statement. “Jon’s contract was lapsed and wasn’t renewed and this was a creative not a diversity decision.”
Holmes had been employed on the show as a writer and performer since 1997. He has won two Baftas, eight Sony awards and two British Comedy awards.
In April the BBC announced new diversity targets to ensure women will make up 50 percent of staff and minorities fifteen percent by 2020. LGBTQI representation is aimed to be eight percent.
While many on social media agreed with Holmes, many others mocked the host due to his white male privilege.
i’m sure this has been said before, but after 18 years it’s not unusual to want to refresh a show’s lineup https://t.co/aNFrrlk7za
— Jonathan Paige (@johnnypaige) October 2, 2016
— Kate Griffiths (@katesfxmakeup) October 2, 2016
Mmmh…Aah Poor white men being oppressed…
BBC presenter Jon Holmes claims he was sacked for being a white man https://t.co/wKbVTpyqg8
— Prof Kalwant Bhopal (@KalwantBhopal) October 2, 2016
Some also pointed to the fact that shaking up a show’s lineup after 18 years isn’t so unusual.
28 Apr 2014 – BBC’s bias against minorities: Corporation’s news boss says there are not enough black or female presenters because managers tend to recruit …