BBC Asian Network DJ suspended for ‘lewd’ WhatsApp comments

Tommy Sandhu has been suspended at the BBC Asian Network after being part of a WhatsApp group that reportedly made lewd and derogatory comments.

BBC Asian Network Tommy Sandhu

Racist comments were also made against some of the Pakistani presenters

A popular radio presenter for the BBC Asian Network has been suspended after being found to be part of a WhatsApp group that allegedly shared racist, sexist and homophobic comments about other colleagues.

Tommy Sandhu, who is a Radio DJ at the Asian Network was discovered to be part of the WhatsApp group containing at least four colleagues. They include radio producers Asheesh Sharma and Kejal Kamani, DJ Sachy, and Tommy himself.

According to the Daily Mail, one of the men in the group made “lewd remarks” about Amy Elizabeth Childs, a Radio 1 and 1Xtra producer.

More sexist comments were also made about other female staff. Including Amanpreet Kaur who works as an assistant producer at the BBC Asian Network.

It was actually Kaur who came across the group after messages had been “accidentally linked to a BBC laptop”.

WhatsApp Group reportedly contained Racist and Homophobic Slurs

As well as sexist comments, homophobic remarks were also made. Slurs such as “batty boy” and “Gandu” were made in reference to colleagues. Another radio host, who is married, was called gay.

Racist comments were also made against some of the Pakistani presenters at the BBC Asian Network. Sources revealed to the Daily Mail that Entertainment Reporter Haroon Rashid was referred to as a “P**i”.

Additionally, after one of the men had done some work with another popular Asian Network DJ Noreen Khan, they were asked: “Have them P***s converted you?”

The BBC has since opened an internal investigation into the matter.

It is unclear how much involvement each of the four men had in the group. But it is thought that Tommy did not actually make any of the comments himself.

Disciplinary action, however, has already been taken against some of the WhatsApp group members.

Asheesh Sharma has been given a “final written warning”, while Kejal Kamani has been reportedly fired.

While it is thought that Tommy Sandhu did not actually make derogatory comments himself, he has also been suspended while the investigation continues.

Childs has refused to comment, saying: “I just don’t think I can talk about that at the moment.”

An Ongoing BBC Investigation

Staff have allegedly been asked not to speak to the press while the matter is ongoing. A BBC spokesman allegedly said:

“We never comment on matters concerning any individuals working with the BBC. Any allegations of inappropriate behaviour would always be taken extremely seriously and would be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.”

Yasser is currently stepping in for Tommy Sandhu’s radio shows while the presenter is on pre-booked holidays.

Having joined in 2010 after taking over from Adil Ray, the popular radio DJ has won a number of accolades for his work, including ‘Best Radio Show’ at the Asian Media Awards.

This is undoubtedly yet another embarrassing blow for the BBC. Only recently had the broadcasting house been criticised over the gender and BAME-related pay gap uncovered in their annual report.

It remains to be seen if the BBC will make any comment on the alleged actions of some of their staff.

Aisha is an editor and a creative writer. Her passions include music, theatre, art and reading. Her motto is “Life is too short, so eat dessert first!”

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