BBC Scotland presenter Jim Spence to remain with backing of management and NUJ after Rangers comments abuse

BBC Scotland presenter Jim Spence will not leave his position and has been given the full support of BBC Scotland and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) following the abuse he has received over comments he made about Rangers FC on air.

The Drum has learned that Spence, a long time sports reporter for BBC Scotland, based in Dundee, has faced a torrent of abuse on Twitter, email and even through text in reaction to comments he made while discussing the board of Rangers.

While discussing new additions to the Rangers board, Spence is quoted to have said: “John McLelland, who was chairman of the old club, some people will tell you the club, well the club that died, possibly coming back in terms of the new chairman.”

BBC Scotland is understood to have received over 400 complaints in relation to the comments and is said to have informed complainants that Spence could have better phrased his point.

It had been rumoured that Spence has considered accepting voluntary redundancy as a result of the reaction over the last week.

The Drum understands that Spence today (Tuesday 10 September) met with management at BBC Scotland and has been given their full backing, while they have begun steps to combat the abuse he has received and taken action against those responsible, although it is not yet clear what action that is.

It's also understood that BBC Scotland will oppose a ruling by the BBC Trust that they breached accuracy guidelines in reporting the financial collapse of Rangers Football Club in 2012.

Paul Holleran, NUJ organiser for Scotland, told The Drum that he was happy with the steps that BBC Scotland had taken: “The BBC has offered its total support to Jim. We do not condone the vile and disgusting emails and texts that he has received and find it totally unacceptable that a journalist has been treated in this way.”

BBC Scotland has declined to comment, stating that it did not comment on individual members of staff.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.