BBC journalist who 'trolled Emma Barnett' attacked Laura Kuenssberg

BBC journalist who 'trolled Emma Barnett' attacked Laura Kuenssberg

BBC journalist who ‘trolled Jewish Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett after she spoke out against anti-Semitism’ also attacked Laura Kuenssberg and David Baddiel using his own Twitter account

  • Nimesh Thaker is accused of trolling BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett
  • BBC journalist is being investigated by Corporation for his alleged antics
  • Mr Thaker is now accused of attacking Laura Kuenssberg using Twitter account
  • Campaign Against Antisemitism claims Mr Thaker breached the BBC’s own social media policy and calls for ‘zero tolerance to anti-Semitism’ 

A BBC World News journalist being probed by the Corporation for allegedly trolling Jewish presenter Emma Barnett anonymously on Twitter is now accused of attacking critics of Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism campaigners under his own name.

Nimesh Thaker is already under investigation after the Jewish Chronicle published images which they claim show that he had used a Twitter account called Not That Bothered to support attacks against the BBC Radio 5 Live presenter.

Ms Barnett, whose grandmother had fled Austria to escape the Nazis, had used her programme to condemn rapper Wiley’s anti-Semitic outbursts in July, claiming that his incendiary comments had fuelled anti-Jewish online abuse.

Mr Thaker’s alleged Twitter account had retweeted one post accusing Ms Barnett of using ‘the same old ‘antisemitism’ excuse whenever people criticise Israel’.

The account also suggested Israel was a ‘racist’ and ‘white supremacist state’, and branded Tony Hall, the outgoing BBC director-general, a ‘white male Tory’.

It can now be revealed that Mr Thaker has also appeared to use a Twitter account under his own name to attack and harass alleged critics of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – including Laura Kuenssberg. 

Photos shared by the Campaign Against Antisemitism group with MailOnline indicate that Mr Thaker, who has worked for BBC World News for more than 20 years, described allegations of anti-Semitism against Mr Corbyn as ‘smears’.

One screenshot shows Mr Thaker attacking British comic David Baddiel, who produced a film called Confronting Holocaust Denial for the BBC earlier this year, for spreading ‘smears’ after he criticised Corporation content. 

He allegedly publicly trolled anti-Semitism campaigners including actress Tracy-Ann Oberman and Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, tweeting them dozens of times, using the handle @thaker_nimesh, which has since been deleted. 

Mr Thaker is accused of sharing posts by political activists dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, such as Left-wing militant Jackie Walker, who was expelled from Labour last year for ‘prejudicial’ behaviour during an anti-Semitism row.

A BBC World News journalist being probed by the Corporation for allegedly trolling Jewish presenter Emma Barnett anonymously on Twitter is now accused of harassing critics of Jeremy Corbyn including anti-Semitism campaigners – using his personal Twitter account 

Mr Thaker appears to have used a Twitter account under his own name to attack and harass anti-Semitism campaigners and alleged critics of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of allegations of anti-Jewish bigotry in the Labour Party – including BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg

The BBC journalist also allegedly defended Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London who quit Labour after he was suspended for making comments about Adolf Hitler supporting Zionism, and the disgraced former Labour MP Chris Williamson.

Mr Thaker appears to have used his @thaker_nimesh handle for work purposes, such as booking interviews on the BBC – like he was previously accused of doing with his anonymous Twitter handle @BotheredThat.

He allegedly also criticised the BBC and colleagues including Ms Kuenssberg, whose Twitter account he accused of being ‘officially the Tory fan club message board’ and who he urged to ‘do some digging… what is the money for journalism please’.

Ms Kuenssberg has faced accusations of bias against Mr Corbyn as well as the Conservative Party in past general and local elections.

It is claimed that Mr Thaker adopted the anonymous handle @BotheredThat after abandoning his personal account.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism is now claiming that Mr Thaker has repeatedly and blatantly breached the BBC’s own social media policy and is calling for ‘zero tolerance for anti-Semitism by its employees – on screen and off’.

A spokesman for the anti-Semitism campaign group told MailOnline: ‘The BBC must swiftly and transparently investigate Nimesh Thaker for his blatant breaches of the Corporation’s social media policy, including posting appalling comments online, using an account in his own name as well as an anonymous account.

‘More broadly, this should be a moment of reflection for the BBC, whose relations with the Jewish community have been strained for many years. 

‘If licence fee payers are to have confidence in the broadcaster, it must show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism by its employees – on screen and off.’

Photos shared by the Campaign Against Antisemitism group with MailOnline indicate that Mr Thaker described allegations of anti-Semitism against Mr Corbyn as ‘smears’ 


The BBC journalist also allegedly defended Ken Livingstone (left), the former Mayor of London who quit Labour after he was suspended for making comments about Adolf Hitler supporting Zionism, and the controversial former Labour MP Chris Williamson (right)

According to BBC guidelines: ‘All BBC activity on social media, whether it is ‘official’ BBC use or the personal use by BBC staff is subject to the Editorial Guidelines and editorial oversight in the same way that our on-platform content is. 

‘We should take particular care about maintaining our impartiality on social media, both in our professional and personal activities… BBC staff should avoid bringing the BBC into disrepute through their actions on social media.’

In a statement, the BBC told MailOnline: ‘The BBC takes allegations of this nature extremely seriously, and while we cannot comment on individual staff issues, we have robust processes in place to investigate any such matters with urgency.’ 

MailOnline has approached Mr Thaker for comment. 

The inquiry into Mr Thaker’s antics comes as director-general Tim Davie imposes sweeping reforms in the biggest anticipated shake-up of the BBC in its history.

BBC World is an international channel with an estimated 121 million viewers. It broadcasts news bulletins, documentaries, and interview shows.

Ms Barnett had previously condemned rapper Wiley after he said in an Instagram video: ‘Crawl out from under your little rocks and defend your Jewish privilege.’

Twitter was then accused of ‘ignoring anti-Semitism’, as Wiley’s tweets were still visible 12 hours after they were first posted.

Speaking on her BBC radio show, Ms Barnett read out his tweets and said: ‘Those words burn, I’m sure I don’t need to tell most of you that, but just in case I do, they burn deep and they are deeply dispiriting and they play on a very well hidden fear a lot of Jewish people have, that some day anti-Semitism will rise up once more, because anti-Semitism is fresh and so raw for us.’  

A BBC World News journalist being probed by the Corporation for allegedly trolling Jewish presenter Emma Barnett anonymously on Twitter is now accused of harassing critics of Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism campaigners under his own name

He publicly trolled anti-Semitism campaigners including actress Tracy-Ann Oberman and the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, tweeting them dozens of times, using the handle @thaker_nimesh, which has since been deleted. Mr Thaker has also shared posts by political activists dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, such as Left-wing militant Jackie Walker, who was expelled from Labour last year for ‘prejudicial’ behaviour during an anti-Semitism row

Nimesh Thaker is accused of using a Twitter account under the pseudonym Not That Bothered to support attacks against BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett (pictured) after she spoke about the Holocaust following rapper Wiley’s anti-Semitic outburst in July

Screenshots seen by the Jewish Chronicle show that Mr Thaker’s alleged Twitter account supported attacks against Ms Barnett, Israel and Tony Hall, the outgoing BBC director-general

Mr Thaker, who has worked for the BBC for more than 20 years, is accused of using Not That Bothered to make contact with sources for reports he was making for the BBC – seemingly exposing his involvement with the account, the Jewish Chronicle reported

The inquiry into Mr Thaker’s antics comes as director-general Tim Davie imposes sweeping reforms in the biggest anticipated shake-up of the BBC in its history 

The Jewish Chronicle reported how Mr Thaker’s alleged account Not That Bothered supported a string of attacks against Ms Barnett as people demanded a boycott of Twitter following its delay in removing Wiley’s anti-Semitic posts.

‘Has the level of hate and political smearing just dropped on twitter or are racists on holiday at the moment?’ the Not That Bothered account posted. 

It retweeted a post written by Left-wing activist Jackie Walker, who was expelled from Labour last year for ‘prejudicial’ behaviour during an anti-Semitism row.

Ms Walker’s tweet accused people who wanted a boycott of Twitter following Wiley’s anti-Semitic outburst of being ‘infamous’ for ‘anti-black/Muslim racism’.

On another occasion, Mr Thaker appeared to support claims by Canary editor Kerry-Anne Mendoza, who has also been embroiled in an anti-Semitism row.

Not That Bothered retweeted a post by Ms Mendoza suggesting the ‘antisemitism witch-hunt’ was heading for a ‘face-off’ with the Black Lives Matters movement.    

The incendiary post also said: ‘those anti-Black, anti-Palestinian racists are gonna get their arses dragged all over town.’

Meanwhile a post written on Not That Bothered and tweeted on July 7 to the MediaGuido site said: ‘Guido doesn’t like black women to have an opinion.

‘But white male tory as DG of the BBC is ok.’

The announcement was praised by Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, who has  warned the BBC must do more to ‘guard its unique selling point of impartiality’.  

‘We are an open and tolerant society and there is no place for antisemitism on or offline,’ Mr Dowden told the Jewish Chronicle.

‘These allegations are very concerning and, as the nation’s broadcaster, we expect BBC journalists to adhere to the highest standards of impartiality. 

Ms Barnett had condemned rapper Wiley after he said in an Instagram video: ‘Crawl out from under your little rocks and defend your Jewish privilege.’

‘Those words burn deep’: Emma Barnett’s powerful response to Wiley’s anti-Semitic comments 

Good morning.

I don’t know what you were up to on Friday – me? I was eating some chippy chips, bread and butter and scampi in Norfolk on my holidays.

Unbeknownst to me, and perhaps to many of you, a bloke called Wiley, often referred to as the godfather of grime, a successful musician from East London who has been awarded an MBE, was beginning a stream of foul anti-Semitism on social media. Specifically Twitter.

Some of his now removed tweets read like they are straight out of the Hitler playbook of 1930s Nazi Germany – the regime this country so bravely went into battle and defeated.

Let me give you flavour:

‘Jewish people are cowards do something to me I am waiting.’

‘Jewish people act rough but they hide behind the police.’

‘Who writes the laws? Who changes the laws? Who implements new laws? WHO? What is the 5%ers? Who are they all? Who runs the world? Who runs the banks? WHO WRITES THE LAW BOOK? Who hides behind the police? Who owns the police?’

This was Wiley tweeting about Jews…

I caught up with these messages 48 hours later, last night, when catching up on the news agenda for this week after my break.

Those words burn. I am sure I don’t need to tell most of you that, but, in case I do, they burn deep. They are deeply dispiriting and play on a very well-hidden fear a lot of Jewish people have: that someday anti-Semitism will rise up once more. Because anti-Semitism is fresh and raw for us. 

My grandmother escaped the Nazis from Wiener Neustadt in Austria and found sanctuary as a housemaid in this country. My husband’s grandmother survived unspeakable torture in Auschwitz. In Europe. A two-hour flight from here. I’ve been. He won’t. He can’t bear to. 

Our grandmothers, who read us bedtime stories safe in our beds in this country, this happened to them – people I met and loved.

Only two weeks ago, I opened Twitter on my phone and saw ‘Jewish privilege’ trending. Do you know how that feels? Do you how frightening that is? I have had my fair share of abuse online, much of it sexist or politically charged. But the one form of hate that always stops me in my tracks and makes me feel angry and sad and burned? Anti-Semitism.

Today, there is a walkout of Twitter by thousands of people around the world, under the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate. It started at 9am and will go on for 48 hours.

And while there is a very important point to be discussed about the role of unregulated social media platforms to act swiftly and remove racist messages – something Twitter didn’t do quickly in this instance (Wiley has also been banned for a week) – something else must not be missed.

Why is a 41-year-old bloke from enlightened Britain attacking Jews?

And he’s not alone.

Wiley, if you are listening, just in case you need something clarifying, Jews don’t run the law. Jews don’t the banks. Jews don’t run the world. I hate to disappoint you and anyone else who got your memo, but it ain’t true.

A man who enjoys huge success and has legions of fans – where did he get the anti-Semitic memo from? I am interested in curing society of such racism. But can we? Or do we have to accept that certain people, even those with millions of followers and advisors who can educate, will always be deeply prejudiced?

And to fellow celebrities who say they are worried about Wiley and his ‘episode’, I say this: mental health issues – if there are some in this case – don’t make people anti-Semitic.

But what does? And can Wiley be cured of it?

Tell me. The mic is yours.

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