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Martin Bashir blamed ‘irritation’ around Diana interview scandal on racism-Sabrina Barr-Entertainment – Metro

The journalist also claimed there was ‘professional jealousy’.

Martin Bashir blamed ‘irritation’ around Diana interview scandal on racism-Sabrina Barr-Entertainment – Metro

The journalist also claimed there was ‘professional jealousy’ (Picture: BBC)

Martin Bashir claimed that there was ‘jealousy’ following his scandalous Panorama interview with Princess Diana, and blamed ‘irritation’ around the conversation on racism.

In 1995, the Princess of Wales sat down for an interview with the journalist about her life, when she made famous comments about her ‘crowded’ marriage to then-Prince Charles.

In May 2021, an official inquiry called the Dyson Report concluded that the chat was secured by Bashir using ‘deceitful behaviour’, which breached the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

In December last year, a judge ordered for the BBC to release thousands of emails that were connected with the controversy.

Around 3,000 emails have now been presented, following a freedom of information request, with investigative journalist Andy Webb requesting their release.

While they are heavily redacted, they include comments that Bashir wrote in 2020, including a message directed at Robert Seatter, the head of BBC history.

The interview with Diana was conducted in 1995 (Picture: BBC)

As reported by the BBC, the interviewer wrote at the time: ‘I am sorry to hear that this so-called “forgery” story has reared its head again.

‘It played no part in the interview but did allow professional jealousy, particularly within the corporation, to hang its hat on alleged wrongdoing.’

He continued: ‘At the time, it was also apparent that there was some irritation that a second-generation immigrant of non-white, working class roots should have the temerity to enter a Royal Palace and conduct an interview.’

‘It would have been so much easier if one of the dynastic families (Dimbleby et al) had done it!’

In the Dyson inquiry, Lord Dyson concluded that Bashir had commissioned fake bank statements to secure his interview with Princess Diana, which were shown to and deceived the royal’s brother, Earl Spencer.

In a 2020 correspondence, Bashir also told Seatter that since returning to the broadcaster in 2016, senior staff working for the Prince of Wales (now King Charles) had ‘expressed their gratitude for my declining of all requests to discuss the interview’.

‘As I am sure you will understand, the words of the late princess have been deployed to attack surviving members of the Royal Family, particularly the Prince of Wales, something that I have never wanted to do,’ he added.

Bashir rejoined the BBC in 2016 (Picture: Ian West/PA)

Following the release of the emails, Webb has accused the BBC of a ‘cover-up’, considering the broadcaster is withholding documents.

He emphasised that it’s ‘obvious’ how ‘highly relevant’ the material is, ‘though the BBC assured the judge that it was entirely irrelevant’.

‘What might lie under these thousands of redactions is anyone’s guess,’ he added.

In a statement, the BBC said: ‘Throughout this process we have taken our responsibilities to comply with the directions of the Tribunal extremely seriously.

‘We have made redactions, where necessary, consistent with the Freedom of Information Act.

‘There is nothing to support the allegations that the BBC acted in bad faith in 2020 and we maintain this suggestion is simply wrong.”

‘Further, as has been said many times, far from attempting to conceal or cover up matters, the BBC commissioned Lord Dyson to conduct an independent investigation”, which was published in 2021.’

The broadcaster continued: ‘The BBC provided all relevant documentation that was in the BBC’s possession to the Lord Dyson inquiry.

‘Other individuals involved in these events also supplied Lord Dyson with written materials, which are detailed in the report. This was published in 2021 and the findings accepted in full by the BBC.’

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