Ben Hunte opened up about the levels of abuse he faced at Student Pride.
Last December, Ben Hunte was announced as the first LGBTQ correspondent for BBC News. The announcement said that Ben would report on “stories, issues and debates surrounding sexuality and gender” and provide “insight and analysis on matters affecting the LGBT community in the UK”.
During the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, Ben presented his own series of LGBTQ-themed programmes for BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, titled The Ben Hunte Interviews.
On the series, he interviewed a range of celebrities such as Paul O’Grady, Stephen K. Amos, Peter Tatchell, Ruth Hunt, Linda Riley and Calum McSwiggan.
However, Ben revealed in a panel discussion at Student Pride just how much abuse he gets in his new role. “So I wanted to see what my first piece would be like as an LGBT correspondent so I put it out this week,” he said.
“It was about LGBT history. And it looked at the fact we don’t actually appreciate the heroes that came before us and represented us.
“In all honesty I have never received so much abuse in my life. Even as being an LGBT YouTuber. The difficulty with that was I knew it was going to be bad, but I didn’t know it was going to be that bad.
“What surprised me most was the lengths people would go to to find me. I had one email that said ‘since when did the BBC allow negroes to present the news?’”
He then spoke about his worries about future stories, saying: “And I had internal conversations with the BBC because that story was just a fun and friendly piece about LGBT history. When I’m digging deeper and I’m putting vulnerable people on the news, what are those comment sections going to look like?
“Because we’re all strong people sat up here and I’m sure there’s strong people in the audience but there’s people who can’t come out in support of their sexuality. So when they’re looking at these comments, what do they see?”