Newsman John Pienaar says Britain is NOT racist and if would be ‘pathetic’ to argue that being black has hurt his career
- Veteran journalist John Pienaar has rejected claims that Britain is a racist country
- The veteran broadcaster insisted the colour of his skin had not harmed his career
- Pienaar is now set to start a new role with Times Radio after leaving the BBC
Veteran broadcaster John Pienaar has rejected the idea that Britain is a racist country and insisted it would be ‘pathetic’ to claim his skin colour had held him back in his career in an interview with the Sunday Times.
Now 63, Pienaar is the son of South African immigrants who fled apartheid in the 1950s and spent 28 years at the BBC, becoming deputy political editor in 2015.
He departed earlier this year and will host the drivetime show on fledgling station Times Radio, which launches at 6am on Monday morning.
Veteran journalist John Pienaar has rejected the idea that Britain is a racist country
Peinaar told the Sunday Times: ‘I wouldn’t describe Britain as a racist country.
‘I grew up strongly believing that part of Britain and part of Britishness meant a kind of a leaning towards tolerance. I thought the British character recoiled from extremism.
‘I still kind of believe that.’
The journalist, whose parents are South African, felt he had never been held back in his career
Pienaar left the BBC after 28 years to join Times Radio as host of their daily drivetime show
Born in Middlesex, Pienaar attended Bromley Technical High School before completing his NCTJ journalism qualification at Highbury College in Portsmouth.
He began his career at South London Press and worked as political correspondent at The Independent, Press Association and The Guardian until joining the BBC in 1992.
Pienaar added: ‘If not being Oxbridge and not being white has worked against me at any point then I’d be the last person to know. Because if that was happening in a room somewhere, who’s going to tell me?
‘I think if I was to start moaning that I’ve been held back in my career, if I was to start playing the victim, that would be pathetic.
‘I would earn a great deal of opprobrium, and I’m not going to do that. Because one way or another, on balance, it’s worked out OK.’