BBC denies Evans was racist to black scientist
Chris Evans told Maggie Aderin-Pocock he could barely see her
The BBC has dismissed claims that Chris Evans made racist comments about a black space scientist, after the TV presenter said he could barely see her.
Maggie Aderin-Pocock - who among other projects is working on the James Webb space telescope, the planned replacement for Hubble - appeared on The One Show on Friday to talk about last week's lunar eclipse.
During the discussion, Evans observed that the last couple of days had been particularly good for "space-spectating" with the lunar eclipse and a fly-past of the International Space Station. He asked if there were any more highlights to look forward to.
Aderin-Pocock said: "There's plenty out there to see. Unfortunately not tonight."
To which Evans replied: "It's terrible tonight. I can barely see you to be honest."
Aderin-Pocock laughed at Evans's joke, but not everyone was amused. Some viewers took to Twitter to express their dismay: "WTF? Did Chris Evans just make a racist quip?" asked one.
It wasn't the only uncomfortable moment for Evans in the discussion.
Earlier, the presenter and his co-host Alex Jones discussed the origins
of the name 'Aderin'. Evans said to his guest: "It's Welsh but you're
Caribbean." Aderin-Pocock immediately corrected him: "No, no Nigerian."
The BBC, which has received 56 complaints from viewers who saw Evans's comments as racist, dismissed the criticism, telling the Daily Mail: "This was a quip in reference to the lights being specifically dimmed in the studio. It was absolutely not a racist remark and the guest did not draw any inference from the comment."