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(CNB News) – The BBC apologized on Sunday for a reporter using a racist slur in a newscast after the corporation had previously defended the use of the word in the report.

Director-general Tony Hall sent a memo to staff apologizing for the use of the slur, after the BBC reportedly received more than 18,600 complaints about the use of the word in a news report last month.

“We are proud of the BBC’s values of inclusion and respect, and have reflected long and hard on what people have had to say about the use of the n-word and all racist language both inside and outside the organisation,” Hall said in the message, according to a copy of the email shared.

Hall said BBC’s “intention was to highlight an alleged racist attack” by using the slur in the report last month about an attack on a young Black man in Bristol, England. But, Hall said, he recognizes it “ended up creating distress amongst many people.”

“The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that. We will now be strengthening our guidance on offensive language across our output,” Hall added.

Comedian and broadcaster Sideman quit music station BBC1Xtra on Saturday over the use of the word and the corporation’s failure to apologize, The Associated Press reported.

A spokesperson for the radio station said they were disappointed by Sideman’s decision but are open to working with him in the future.

“Sideman is an incredibly talented DJ. Obviously we are disappointed that he has taken this decision. We absolutely wish him well for the future,” the 1Xtra spokesperson said. “The door is always open for future projects.”

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