Eight of Channel 4’s most controversial moments


4 Jon Snow ‘white people’ Brexit claim investigated by Ofcom 

The veteran presenter got himself in further difficulty in March 2019 when he said he had “never seen so many white people in one place” when describing a pro-Brexit protest outside Parliament, prompting Ofcom to investigate his remarks.

The broadcasting watchdog received 2,644 complaints about Mr Snow’s report. 

Channel 4 issued an apology about the comments but the regulator cleared the presenter. 

Channel 4 News was forced to apologise to Boris Johnson during the 2019 election campaign after it misquoted the Prime Minister on the campaign trail as using the phrase “people of colour”. 

Mr Johnson had said he was in favour of “people of talent” coming to the UK but was incorrectly captioned in a tweet. The broadcaster apologised for the mistake, which raised tensions with the Conservatives.

In December 2021, a vocal Labour supporter who labelled Boris Johnson a “nasty piece of work” and defended Jeremy Corbyn over antisemitism allegations was appointed to the broadcaster’s board. 

Tess Alps, a Labour Party member, described Mr Johnson as “such a nasty piece of work” in a tweet from April 2016, and was opposed to previous plans to end state ownership of Channel 4. 

7 Paul Mason posts online rant about RBS

In 2014, six years after the financial crisis, Channel 4 News’ then economics editor Paul Mason recorded a passionate rant about Royal Bank of Scotland after the bank was among six fined a collective £2.6bn for rigging foreign exchange markets.

Mr Mason said he was encouraged to “push the limits of what the Ofcom rules would allow” in the online-only clip, and that it resulted in “internal actions” so that it did not happen again.

8 Queen’s ‘deepfake’ Christmas speech

Channel 4 has broadcast an alternative Christmas message to the Queen’s festive address since 1993, featuring hosts such as Tom Daley and John Bercow. 

In 2020, a twist on the format involved a digitally-altered monarch performing a TikTok dance routine, intended as a warning about misinformation. 

However, critics said the production was in bad taste and tacky after the Queen’s sombre pandemic message.


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