The BBC Have Apologised For Their 'Misleading' Portrayal Of The Aboriginal Community In New Doc

Residents accused Reggie Yates of supplying alcohol at a wake

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The BBC have apologised for the "misleading" editing of a documentary about an Aboriginal community after residents accused Reggie Yates and the production crew of unethical behaviour.

Presenter Yates and production company Sundog Pictures were filming the indigenous population of the New South Wales town of Wilcannia for their documentary Hidden Australia: Black in the Outback. He was investigating the country's indigenous people and why they suffer such extreme social deprivation and inequality in one of the richest nations.

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But participants, most of whom were Barkindji men and women, said they were shocked and outraged at their portrayal, claiming the documentary unfairly focused on alcohol abuse within their community, and portrayed what looked like a drunken party, which was actually, in reality, a wake.

They also claim producers abused and took advantage of their trust.

Barkindji man Owen Whyman told ABC: "We like to have a beer because we don't know when we're going to see each other again, and we were all in mourning, and he never said anything about that in the documentary."

A spokesperson for the BBC has since told The Guardian that they accept the footage of the wake was edited "in a way which is misleading".

"This clearly falls below the standards we expect of program makers and for this we would like to apologise."

The BBC added they were speaking with production members of Sundog Pictures to find out what happened, and to "remind them of the BBC's editorial standards".

"The program aimed to show what life is like for the local community and whilst we can't include everything we film, the program did feature the work of the youth centre and a traditional hunt.

"Sundog has told us that at every stage those featured had consented to being filmed and were given a clear understanding of the program's aims and where appropriate contributors were visited after filming as well."

Residents complained that, while they acknowledge alcohol abuse is an issue in their town, Yates had initially told them he wanted to depict a positive story.

Whyman also alleged that Yates and producers supplied residents with alcohol at the wake, adding: "Reggie goes on national TV and says he doesn't drink, he doesn't like alcohol, yet his crew can bring ... alcohol to our parties."

Lendal King, who was one of the main subjects in the fly-on-the-wall style documentary, added to ABC: "I regret being a part of it, because it was just all about alcohol.

"It upset me... I didn't know it was going to be like that. [The documentary] mainly just talked about drinking, all of us drinking, and made the community look bad."

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