BBC star Reggie Yates has apologised for using the phrase “fat Jewish guy” in a recent podcast.
In the interview, he said: “The thing that makes it great about this new generation of (music) artists is that they ain’t signing to majors.
“They’re independent, they’re not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren.”
Yates said in a statement: “I’m hugely apologetic for this flippant comment.”
He was speaking to DJ Chuckie Lothian in an episode of Halfcast Podcast, which was recently shared on SoundCloud.
Yates’s statement continued: “It was not my intention to offend or reinforce stereotypes, but I’m aware that this could have been interpreted that way and for that I am also deeply sorry.
“What I was actually trying to say was how proud I am of the new generation of artists making their success independently on their own terms and without giving away control or their rights to major labels.”
Following the comments, the DJ and filmmaker has been accused by some of anti-Semitism.
In a post on the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) website, a statement on Yates’s comments read: “Clearly someone who sees fit to voice such views and only apologises when caught out should not be presented by the BBC as a role model for young people.”
Gideon Falter, chairman of the CAA, told the Telegraph that Yates’ comments “evoke the ugly stereotype of Jews as untrustworthy and money-grabbing”.
He added that Yates should “reflect long and hard” on what he had said.
The BBC declined to comment.
Richard Ferrer, editor of the Jewish Times, said: “Coming from a successful role model, this spiteful comment, so casually made, is all the more chilling. His apology is welcome. I hope it’s heartfelt.”
Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust, a charity that tackles anti-Semitism, said many people would find Yates’s comments offensive.
“Even worse than any offence is the message Yates gives his audience by reinforcing an anti-Semitic stereotype,” he said.
Yates has presented on Radio 1, was a regular Top of the Pops presenter and a co-host on The Voice UK. He has fronted many BBC documentaries including Gay and Under Attack about homosexuality in Russia and Reggie Yates: Race Riots USA.