EXCLUSIVE: BBC Radio 5 Live host Nihal Arthanayake contacts police after he was racially abused outside pub by ‘drunk’ man who called him ‘p***’ and used the N-word
- Radio 5 Live host, 51, was waiting for his wife outside pub following a night out
- He took to Twitter last night to describe the ‘weirdness’ of the incident
BBC presenter Nihal Arthanayake has contacted police after he was racially abused outside a pub by a ‘drunk’ man who called him a ‘p***’ and used the N-word.
The Radio 5 Live host, 51, was waiting for his wife outside the unnamed pub in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, following an evening out together watching a friend’s band.
Mr Arthanayake took to Twitter last night to post a video in which he described how he was still trying to process the ‘weirdness’ of the incident.
He told MailOnline he has since been given the man’s identity and has today spoken to the police about the incident.
The host said: ‘I have thought about this, and discussed it with my wife. It is important that I highlight this man’s behaviour. I am someone who has seen this kind of behaviour before, but if he abuses an elderly Asian pensioner, that would be wholly unacceptable.
The Radio 5 Live host, 51, was waiting for his wife outside the unnamed pub in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, following an evening out together watching a friend’s band
‘I should have seen the warning signs when I first started talking to him. He said he couldn’t pronounce my name and asked me if he could call me Nigel. I said that he couldn’t.
‘As my wife and I come from London, and I was born in Essex, we are used to some kind of bubble when we are down there. We have moved to the North as I work for the BBC here. London is far more ethnically mixed than places like Altrincham.
‘Before this idiot came along a man in the pub saw my wife, me, and a friend who is black, and he said to us: “It’s not often that you see three.”‘
‘He then he was going to say, black, or something, and he changed it to nice. He stopped himself in time.
‘It just makes you feel really uncomfortable when you know that people recognise your skin colour or ethnicity. The moment they see you. And then you get people who use racist terms without even thinking twice about it.
‘It has been suggested to me that I should talk to the police and I’m happy to. There are all sorts of laws in our country against race crimes and abuse. I think the police will be very interested in this.’
In a tweet this afternoon, he added: ‘Impressed that Greater Manchester Police have already been in touch. Looking at investigating a Racially Aggravated Public Order Offence.’
Nadiya Hussain, the Great British Bake Off winner, sent Nihal a message of support.
Alongside three heart emojis she said: ‘This is the reality for so many of us. Sending you love and solidarity.’
Former EastEnders star Ameet Chana and Sunrise Radio presenter also sent him a message of support.
Mr Arthanayake, who did not reveal the name of the pub, took to Twitter last night to post a video in which he described how he was still trying to process the ‘weirdness’ of the incident
It comes after Mr Arthanayake shared a video of himself discussing the incident on Twitter last night.
He said: ‘I don’t really know what just happened. I was in a place called Altrincham, which is a bit of a hole.
‘I was outside this pub, which I’d been in with my wife, dancing around, jumping around etcetera. It was fun. Covers band, they were very good.
‘I saw this man sitting outside, I was waiting for my wife to come out, so I said “Can I come and sit with you, can we talk?” and he was like “Yeah, yeah absolutely.” Little, kind of drunk man.
‘We got talking and he said “oh are you a doctor?” So I started laughing because it’s a question as an Asian you might get asked. And I went ‘Well why would you ask that?’
‘And he said “Well, because you’re a p***. And then he went “oh I guess I can’t say p***” then he said the n-word! Then he kind of looked at me and was like “oh sorry, you’re offended aren’t you?” And I said “well why did you say that word?’ He said “I’m sorry I’m a massive…” and used the c-word.
‘I said “You’re not a massive c-word, you’re just an average one. Dictators are massive c-words, you’re just an average one.” It was so weird.
‘But you know when you come to some of these areas, I think there’s just some people who still think they can say that word.’
Since posting the video, Mr Arthanayake has been flooded with messages of support.
The Coral’s singer James Skelly said: ‘That’s horrible. Sorry to hear that happened to you mate.’
Another social media user said: ‘Sorry to hear this happened in the town we live and work in. There are decent people here so sad this racist spoilt your visit to town.’
A third added: ‘Did u hit 88mph and go back to the future? Sad state of affairs this day and age irrespective of location.’
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