Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Reggie Yates of ‘Top Of The Pops’ performs Lenny Kravitz’s song, ‘It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over,’ as part of ‘Comic Relief Does Fame Academy’ at Lambeth College on March 3, 2005 in London.Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
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BBC Star Leaves Top of the Pops After Making Controversial Comment About Jews

Reggie Yates stepped down after talking about “fat Jewish” managers controlling the music business

Liel Leibovitz
December 05, 2017
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
Reggie Yates of 'Top Of The Pops' performs Lenny Kravitz's song, 'It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over,' as part of 'Comic Relief Does Fame Academy' at Lambeth College on March 3, 2005 in London.Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Reggie Yates, one of the BBC’s most popular presenters, has stepped down from hosting Top of the Pops and will not helm the show’s popular Christmas special after making comments many listeners perceived as anti-Semitic.

Appearing on a podcast last month, Yates told the host, DJ Chuckie Lothian, that he was very pleased with the current generation of recording artists and the way they chose to manage their careers.

“The thing that makes it great about this new generation of artists is that they ain’t signing to majors,” Yates said. “They’re independent, they’re not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren.”
In a statement on Twitter yesterday night, Yates apologized, calling his comments “ill considered” and admitting that they “hurt many people.”

“I can see clearly that the words I used reinforced offensive stereotypes and that there is no context that would justify such remarks,” the statement continued. “My comments are no reflection on how I truly feel and I would like to apologize unreservedly to the Jewish community, people in the music industry and anyone else I have offended.”

A spokesman for the BBC told the British press that they “take these issues very seriously,” and added that “Reggie is in no doubt about the BBC’s view of his comments.” And Gideon Falter, the chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, added that Yates’ comments “evoke the ugly stereotype of Jews as untrustworthy and money-grabbing,” suggesting the presenter take the time to “reflect long and hard” on his comments.

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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