BBC Apologizes for Headline on Phil Spector Story

Referred to him 'talented but flawed,' with no reference to murder conviction
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2021 1:04 PM CST
BBC Apologizes for Headline on Phil Spector Story
In this 2009 file photo, music producer Phil Spector sits in a courtroom for his sentencing in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, Pool, File)

The BBC has apologized for a headline it posted about the death of Phil Spector. When news broke of Spector's death over the weekend, the news organization quickly posted a headline that read, "Talented but flawed producer Phil Spector dies aged 81." However, complaints soon followed, with critics accusing the BBC of sugar-coating Spector's murder conviction in 2009. UK pop star Lily Allen was among them. "Rolling eyes at all the journos deliberately downplaying Phil Spector being a murderer in their headlines, so everyone (points) this out while linking to their articles resulting in lots of clicks," she tweeted. But she was far from alone. The London Economic rounds up other criticism, including multiple references that had the name of serial killer Fred West trending.

"Fred West was not a 'talented but flawed' builder," reads one tweet. Editors at the BBC soon agreed. "The breaking news story on Phil Spector’s death was published with a headline that did not meet our editorial standards," reads the statement. "This was changed within minutes and we also deleted a tweet that had gone out automatically with the original headline. We apologize for this error." The new headline: "Pop producer jailed for murder dies at 81." The polar opposite of the original BBC headline can be found at the Digital Fix: "Murderer of Lana Jean Clarkson dies in prison," it reads. (Read more Phil Spector stories.)

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