Tottenham Hotspur have lodged a formal complaint with talkSPORT after footage emerged of a caller to the station claiming Daniel Levy wanted big money for Harry Kane because he was Jewish.
The episode provoked outrage, with presenters Perry Groves and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan accused online of failing immediately to challenge the contributor or apologise for his comments.
“Levy, he’s a Jew. He’s not going to let him go for nothing, is he?” said the caller when asked by Jarrett-Bryan if Spurs should hold out for the fee England captain Kane was worth.
A clip of the station’s live YouTube stream posted online showed Groves, the former Arsenal star, display visible shock at the outburst, while Jarrett-Bryan also appeared to disapprove.
But neither made any immediate comment about it, with Jarrett-Bryan seeking to move the conversation on.
Spurs confirmed to Telegraph Sport that they had lodged a formal complaint with talkSPORT over the incident from Tuesday night’s edition of ‘The Sports Bar’ and were awaiting a response from the station.
Andrew Percy MP, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism confirmed he had written to the station to ask what action it was taking and had lodged a complaint with media regulator Ofcom.
Scott Spurling, a Twitter user who posted the footage, wrote on the site: “I don’t know what’s worse the caller or the presenter not calling him out immediately instead of trying to move on.”
Jonny Gould, a former director of the Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust, replied, saying: “This needs calling out by all talkSPORT, not just their Jewish staff. Zero tolerance to racism.”
Freelance radio presenter and producer Sammy James said the caller’s comments would not have been broadcast on radio because of a delay in which they could be edited out.
I'll go again on this.
This audio was 'dumped' on the live radio broadcast, so no listener will have heard what the caller said. In that respect Jordan did the *right* thing by not addressing it.
However, the YT live stream obviously did not sync up correctly.
— Sammy James (@MrSammyJames) August 4, 2021
Suggesting the live YouTube stream had not been correctly synchronised, he wrote: “To stick up for Jordan here. This audio will have been ‘dumped’ on the live radio broadcast, so no listener will have heard what the caller said. In that respect Jordan did the *right* thing by not addressing it.”
Apologising for the incident, the head of talkSPORT, Lee Clayton, said: “We are all appalled by the comment that was made by a caller during a live YouTube broadcast of The Sports Bar. There is absolutely no room for discrimination of any kind in society.
“We are deeply sorry to Tottenham and, especially, to chairman Daniel Levy, as well as their supporters and the Jewish community for the offence caused by this hateful comment, which should never have been broadcast.
“The comment was rightly dumped on our radio station, where we broadcast with a slight delay to ensure any unexpected and inappropriate comments don’t make it to air. It was, however, streamed live on the talkSPORT YouTube channel, which we are currently testing and which awaits a similar profanity/offence delay. Our team did not take our YouTube stream into consideration and therefore the comments were not challenged as they should have been for our viewers on YouTube.
“It is unacceptable that the comment appeared anywhere and as broadcast partners of the Premier League, we take our position very seriously. We are comprehensively reviewing all of our processes, involving our teams across programming, social media and compliance.
“We have suspended live broadcasting on YouTube until we can be sure we have the same processes and protections in place as we have for our radio broadcasting.”
Jarrett-Bryan also apologised, writing on Twitter he was “against anti-semitism and all forms of racism”.
In a statement, Spurs said: “The club notes talkSPORT’s apology following an antisemitic incident on their The Sports Bar programme on Tuesday 3 August.
“We were appalled that neither presenter addressed the comment, failing to call out the antisemitic trope. We are under no doubt that if an equivalent comment had been made regarding an individual’s race or other protected characteristic, the response would have been immediate and far-reaching.
“It cannot be acceptable that antisemitism does not receive the same level of condemnation as other forms of discrimination and efforts to tackle it should be no less rigorous.”