BBC LGBT correspondent Ben Hunte has said he’s shocked about the level of homophobic and racist abuse he has received online since he started the new role at the broadcaster late last year.
During a panel discussion during the UK’s National Student Pride, Hunte opened up about the negative reaction he had gotten since he started appearing on his own series on the British public broadcaster titled The Ben Hunte Interviews.
“I wanted to see what my first piece would be like as an LGBT correspondent so I put it out this week,” Hunte said.
“It was about LGBT history. And it looked at the fact we don’t actually appreciate the heroes that came before us and represented us.
“In all honesty I have never received so much abuse in my life.
“Even as an LGBT YouTuber, the difficulty with that was I knew it was going to be bad, but I didn’t know it was going to be that bad.
“What surprised me most was the lengths people would go to to find me. I had one email that said, ‘Since when did the BBC allow negros to present the news?'”
Hunte went on to express his concerns about his other upcoming LGBT stories.
“I had internal conversations with the BBC because that story was just a fun and friendly piece about LGBT history,” he said.
“When I’m digging deeper and I’m putting vulnerable people on the news, what are those comment sections going to look like?
“Because we’re all strong people sat up here and I’m sure there’s strong people in the audience but there’s people who can’t come out in support of their sexuality.
“When they’re looking at these comments, what do they see?”
Announcing Hunte’s role, the BBC said he would be reporting on “stories, issues and debates surrounding sexuality and gender” and provide “insight and analysis on matters affecting the LGBT community in the UK.”
Since Hunte’s series was launched through BBC Radio, he has interviewed celebrity guests such as Paul O’Grady, Stephen K. Amos, Peter Tatchell, Ruth Hunt, Linda Riley and Calum McSwiggan.