Man charged over alleged ‘racist and abusive’ attack on BBC reporter

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LEICESTER: A man has denied racially abusing a BBC reporter as she prepared a broadcast. Sima Kotecha said she and her team faced “racist and abusive behaviour” as they set up for live interviews in Leicester city centre on Sunday.

Sima Kotecha

According to a BBC report, appearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court by videolink, Russell Rawlingson pleaded not guilty to causing racially aggravated alarm or distress. The 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.

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 and will be reporting the incident to the police. We will not tolerate racism or abuse of our staff.”