According to its own head of diversity, the BBC has failed to connect with white working-class audiences and must do more to make them feel represented. June Sarpong, who was appointed as the BBC’s first ‘Director of Creative Diversity’ in 2019, has said her role in reaching under-represented groups would extend beyond black and Asian people to include working-class communities.
Sarpong spoke at a virtual Ofcom summit where she said: ‘Often the BAME audience gets a lot of focus, in that the BBC doesn’t represent BAME audiences enough, and we talk about young people. But we know that we’ve had serious issues in terms of our connection with C2DE (working class) audiences and I think it’s about getting the balance. As somebody who is an advocate for diversity, I’m always making sure I’m banging the drum for working-class audiences because I come from a working-class background, my parents were immigrants, we grew up in a white, working-class community’.
Miss Sarpong also went on to praise the BBC’s new director-general Tim Davie and speak out for the need to improve diversity at the BBC. She said ‘We understand that it’s absolutely vital for our success and our survival. It’s no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. In a way, our survival is also in the balance and this is a key part of ensuring we are here for another 100 years’.