A man has been charged after Sima Kotecha, a PIO journalist with BBC, alleged that she and her crew had been subjected to ‘racist and abusive behaviour’. The alleged incident took place when Kotecha was preparing to broadcast from Leicester city centre at the weekend. Leicestershire police have said the man would appear at court over the incident, which occurred on Sunday.
Appearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court by videolink, Russell Rawlingson pleaded not guilty to causing racially aggravated alarm or distress.
The accused 50-year-old, of Glenfield Road in Leicester was bailed to appear at Leicester Crown Court on 15 June.
Ms Kotecha was due to interview people on Sunday evening following the prime minister's statement about the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
The segment was cancelled and the incident reported to police. Kotecha tweeted: “Apologies to our guests who we had to send home without putting on air after myself and team were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour – sad obstruction of reporting of a national crisis. Yes I’m furious.” Backing its reporter, the BBC said: “While preparing to broadcast, our reporter, her production team and guests were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour. We are appalled by what happened … We will not tolerate racism or abuse of our staff.”