BBC journalist Chris Rogers was caught giving a Nazi salute and goose-stepping with his finger under his nose, imitating Adolf Hitler, while filming a documentary on anti-Semitism, the UK’s Daily Mail reported on Monday.
The Daily Mail said the incident occurred two years ago during the filming of the BBC Panorama documentary ‘Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate,’ about anti-Semitic soccer fans in Poland and Ukraine.
Rogers admitted that he displayed a “lack of judgment,” the newspaper said, citing his apology.
Rogers said, “I fully accept that some of my behavior, which was intended as a joke, was deeply inappropriate particularly given the seriousness of what we were filming. I apologized and was strongly reprimanded by the BBC. I might have displayed a lack of judgement but none of this detracts from the serious football racism exposed in the program.”
The newspaper said there was an internal BBC probe into the incident and Rogers was frozen out of the show by a “livid editor.” A spokesman for the BBC said that Rogers was freelance and has not been hired by the Panorama program since the incident.
The spokesman said, “Chris Rogers has apologized for his behavior. We took the appropriate action at the time – two years ago – and now regard the matter as closed.”
“The program revealed serious racial abuse and violence in the host countries ahead of Euro 2012,” the spokesman said. “Allegations were made in the Polish press at the time which were looked into and found to be completely untrue and we fully stand by the program.”
At the time the documentary aired, Jonathan Ornstein, executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, gave an interview for the documentary, and later said he had been “exploited” as it “completely disregarded anything positive said and aired only comments critical of Poland.”
On Monday, Ornstein told the Daily Mail, “I think it’s shocking and I think that it again reinforces the need to take another look at the whole program that was produced. I have been saying from the beginning that this is someone that was coming in with an agenda.”
“Looking at the issue of racism in Poland while at the same time making light of it in this way is the height of hypocrisy,” Ornstein said.