BBC Stands by Controversial Andrew Scott Bafta Interview

Addressing a recent BBC interview controversy, the broadcaster explains

by Zain ul Abedin
BBC Stands by Controversial Andrew Scott Bafta Interview
© Elyse Jankowski/Getty Images

The BBC has recently stated in response to the controversy surrounding a red-carpet interview conducted by their reporter, Colin Paterson, with actor Andrew Scott at the Baftas. The interview, which has since gained significant traction on social media, sparked debates and allegations of homophobia.

During the event, Paterson, a seasoned BBC journalist, inquired about Scott's thoughts on a specific scene involving fellow Irish actor Barry Keoghan in the film "Saltburn". This scene, notable for Keoghan's naked dance, has generated considerable public interest.

However, the interview took an awkward turn when Paterson probed Scott about the authenticity of Keoghan's anatomy in the film, further pushing the boundary by questioning the extent of Scott's knowledge about Keoghan. Scott, who appeared visibly uncomfortable, chose not to respond to these inquiries, which led to widespread criticism of Paterson's approach.

Critics and social media users alike condemned the line of questioning, suggesting it implied assumptions about Scott's sexuality and its bearing on his familiarity with Keoghan.

BBC Clarifies Interview Intent

The BBC, while standing by the overall interview, admitted that the particular question regarding Scott's knowledge of Keoghan's physical attributes was ill-advised.

In their statement, the broadcaster explained that the initial part of the interview focused on Scott's film "All of Us Strangers", which received multiple Bafta nominations. The conversation then shifted to the rise of Irish actors in cinema, with Keoghan's performance in "Saltburn" being a topic of cultural significance.

The BBC emphasized that they intended to offer a light-hearted commentary on the public discussions surrounding Keoghan's scene in "Saltburn". This scene has been widely acknowledged, including by the film's writer-director Emerald Fennell and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, whose song features in the sequence.

Despite their defense, the BBC conceded that the specific line of questioning directed at Scott was a misstep. Following the interview, Paterson acknowledged on-air that his approach might have been excessive and expressed regret if it caused any discomfort.

Paterson, a 50-year-old journalist with extensive experience in entertainment reporting, including coverage of prestigious events like the Baftas and Oscars, has a history of bold approaches. In 2014, he notably gained attention for his unconventional method of securing an interview with U2's Bono at the Vanity Fair party.