BBC explain how subtitling error led to Newcastle being labelled 'black and white scum' on MOTD2

‘There are times when unfortunate errors occur.’

Image: Owen Humphreys

THE BBC HAS moved to address the “unfortunate error” which led to Newcastle being labelled “black and white scum” in the subtitles for Sunday night’s Match of the Day 2

Football writer Paul Brown spotted the unintentional slur, which occurred when commentator Guy Mowbray was describing Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge’s record against the Magpies.

Mowbray said: “Sturridge has scored in all four of his previous Premier League starts at Newcastle. For the Reds against the black and whites, he boasts five goals in five appearances.”

However, in the subtitles, it appeared as though Mowbray had described the Tynesiders as ‘scum’.

The BBC have said that their football commentary is re-voiced for subtitles by someone known as a ‘respeaker’, and that this person’s speech had been misinterpreted by the automated subtitling programme. As it so happened, the BBC’s software had confused the word “comma”, spoken by a subtitler, and put “scum” into the on-screen text.

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Our live subtitling service is normally very accurate and makes our content much more accessible, but there are times when unfortunate errors occur.

“On this occasion the error was spotted and corrected immediately.”

Gavin Cooney
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