A well known British Television reporter has been fired for speaking on behalf of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Steve Jones, 51, (pictured above) a 20-year veteran of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) was fired earlier today for “failing to disclose his interests and failure to get network permission before representing outside organizations.” Jones appeared regularly on BBC Wales TV and Radio Wales. He had also appeared on Britain’s Channel 4, BBC One and Sky1.
Jones had been in trouble with the network before for wearing a short sleeve shirt which exposed his tattooed forearms on air. A BBC spokesman refused to discuss the firing. “We can confirm that Steve Jones no longer works for BBC Cymru Wales,” the spokesman said. “We do not discuss individual employment matters.”
Jones troubles began last summer in the weeks before an annual British rally named the Bulldog Bash. This small event has been held for the last 20 years near Stratford-on-Avon. It lasts four days and usually attracts only about 15,000 bikers. This year police tried to ban the event because bikers are “associated with serious crime.”
Police publically speculated that the event would invite trouble between members of the Hells Angels and the American Outlaws Association. A very well known British Angel named Gerry Tobin was shot off his bike as he rode home from the Bash in 2007 and Outlaws were convicted of the murder. Last year, four Hells Angels and four Outlaws were convicted of fighting with machetes in a British airport.
While the debate raged over whether to allow the rally or not, Jones acted as a spokesman for both the event and the Hells Angels. Using the road name “Echo,” Jones explained to the Times of London, “‘In the UK, we’re not organized crime – we’re a brotherhood of bikers. If we are organized criminals why do we ride around quite openly displaying patches saying who we are? We get together to ride our bikes, visit our brothers in Britain and overseas and have a party. Just because some of our members have crossed the line doesn’t make every member a criminal nor the club a criminal organization.”
More Non-Police Approved Talk
Jones, identifying himself as Echo, also openly disagreed with the police in a video posted on the website of the Birmingham (England) Mail.
“We think it (cancelling the Bulldog Bash) is a completely over the top reaction,” echo said. “We accept the police have a responsibility for law and order, public safety etc., but we police the site, there’s never any problems on the site. They have to look after the outside, and in the past they’ve had a couple of dozen police officers. Last year and this year they seem to think there’s a necessity to have hundreds.
“Last year they spent £180,000 on equipment hire, which is twice what we spend on equipment hire for the whole show. I know the local people are very upset about it. They’re having to have passes to get to their own homes and businesses past roadblocks. I mean, what’s going on, this is a family event that’s gone on for 20 years without any problem.”
Is That Steve
BBC colleagues recognized Jones’ voice on British radio and informed their bosses.
Neither Jones or his union, the National Union of Journalists, have publically commented on the firing.
The London Daily Mail quotes an anonymous BBC source as saying, “Steve’s a lovely bloke and an excellent broadcaster but he’s a bit of a maverick. Being a BBC correspondent in the week and a Hells Angel at the weekend doesn’t sit well.”
The Daily Mail quotes a friend of Jones as saying, “He believes he’s done nothing wrong apart from carrying out the hobby he has had for years.”