A Sky News presenter has apologised over an interview with a woman facing eviction that was described as “patronising”.
Jayne Secker (pictured) appeared to suggest younger tenants “aren’t equipped with the necessary skills to rent” during an interview with Londoner Kirsty Archer on a proposed ban to “no-fault” evictions.
- December 21, 2020
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Revealing that she was a landlord, Secker appeared to also suggest that some of her own tenants were unable to change a lightbulb without help.
The presenter today apologised for getting the “tone and content” of the interview “wrong” following widespread criticism on social media.
Among those to criticse her was pop singer Ellie Goulding, who tweeted a link to the video and described the interview as “pretty unacceptable”.
— Ellie Goulding (@elliegoulding) April 16, 2019
Independent Europe editor Jon Stone tweeted that Secker had “turned an interview about housing policy into an irrelevant and patronising rant about her tenants”.
Guardian columnist Owen Jones described Secker in a tweet as a “private landlord” who had used “an interview about Britain’s housing crisis to slag off private tenants”.
At the start of the Sky News segment, Archer raised concerns about the difficulty and costs of finding somewhere to live in London.
Secker responded that it wasn’t the landlord’s fault and added: “That’s just the housing market, isn’t it? And the landlord would have the same issues if you decided to move out in two months.”
She later said: “I suppose some would say – and I am speaking as someone who has rented flats, who also rents flats out – that especially with the younger generation… you very often find tenants don’t really know how to do a great deal in a home.”
She added: “If you lived in a home you owned, nobody would be able to fix these things for you, they’re actually just things that often require a bit of common sense.”
When asked if tenants had “all the necessary skills to rent”, Archer told Secker she was being “a bit patronising”.
After the interview, Archer tweeted: “I was not told beforehand that I would be interviewed by a landlady or had no idea how condescending and insensitive her line of question will be. Let’s get more working class people presenting news shows next #EndSection21.”
Secker apologised in a tweet this morning, saying: “Clearly yesterday I got the tone and content of an interview wrong and it has upset many people.
“I am sure many of us will have made a mistake at work – unfortunate for me mine is a lot more public than most. Please be assured I have taken the many comments on board. Mea culpa.”
Broadcast regulator Ofcom told Press Gazette that it has received 15 complaints about the interview. The complainants believed that Secker was hostile to Archer because of her personal interests as a landlord, Ofcom said.
Sky News declined to comment.
Picture: Sky News