The BBC issued a red-faced apology after airing an interview they believed was with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.
The British media outlet revealed it believes it was the victim of “a deliberate hoax” after a “Newshour” radio program last week featured someone thought to be the New Jersey Democrat. In a statement on its website, the BBC noted that an apology had been made to Booker and that efforts were underway to find out “what went wrong.”
“In our Newshour radio programme on Friday, a man claiming to be Senator Cory Booker was interviewed in what appears to be a deliberate hoax,” the BBC wrote in a statement posted over the weekend.
“We have apologised to Senator Booker and are looking into what went wrong to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the outlet added.
Uhhh BBC interviewed “a man claiming to be Senator Cory Booker was interviewed in what appears to be a deliberate hoax” https://t.co/fXs5IukKKF
— Elahe Izadi (@ElaheIzadi) March 3, 2021
The BBC noted that the interview only aired at 3 p.m. EST last Friday, “and has not appeared elsewhere.”
According to the New York Daily News, “the BBC said the interview was pulled from its website minutes after it was aired.”
Media outlets reported that audio of the interview has not been circulating online but that the Booker imposter had been discussing U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia amid reactions to President Joe Biden’s order for military airstrikes last week.
Daily Mail reported that it had “reached out to the broadcaster to ask whether anyone has been reprimanded internally over the error. ”
“It is usually difficult for people to trick their way onto live television and radio programs because they are often vetted by more than one producer,” the outlet added.
Though the program with the faux Booker was pulled, some who were listening commented on the confusion it caused.
“I’m not sure who the BBC World Service just interviewed on Newshour about US relations with Saudi Arabia, but it definitely wasn’t Senator Cory Booker…” one Twitter user wrote.
I’m not sure who the BBC World Service just interviewed on Newshour about US relations with Saudi Arabia, but it definitely wasn’t Senator Cory Booker…
— Connie Kroll (@connie_traverse) February 26, 2021
I listened to this in my car & had the same reaction. @BBC Newshour apologized on their website but I can’t imagine that many who heard the “interview” have seen it.
— Democracy is not a spectator sport (@BRT_Austin) February 28, 2021
Some apparently fell for the hoax, tagging the New Jersey senator in a comment praising him on the “great interview.”
“@CoryBooker great interview on the BBC World Service talking about peoples right to information and the Khashoggi murder by Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia,” the tweet read.
@CoryBooker great interview on the BBC World Service talking about peoples right to information and the Khashoggi murder by Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia .
— Lost in CyberSpace (@LostBoizz) February 26, 2021
Some social media users thought to reach out and alert Booker.
“@CoryBooker did you do an interview today with the BBC discussing the Khashoggi killing? Someone sounding nothing like you and without your speech pattern was claiming to be you today,” one Twitter user wrote.
@CoryBooker did you do an interview today with the BBC discussing the Khashoggi killing? Someone sounding nothing like you and without your speech pattern was claiming to be you today.
— Tyresse Horne (@Thorne4184) February 26, 2021
The BBC apology sparked even more reactions on social media.
This is both incompetent and hilarious. Not sure I’m even mad 😂
— DougZ (@Doug_Zbi) March 3, 2021
He’s my senator, I’m sure the impersonator did a better job!
— will.brandt (@WBrandt21) March 3, 2021
— TXmomof2 (@JAustin101197) March 3, 2021
Hey @BBCWorld not all bald black men are Cory Booker
— Combative Weaponized Gay (@UnsafeNSpace) March 3, 2021
Does anyone have a clip of it? Must’ve been a decent impersonator and hilariously bad vetting.
— *gulp noise* (@GulpNoise) March 3, 2021
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