Real Reporters Don’t Wear Cuts

January 13, 2010

All Posts, News

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.”

Bulldog Bash

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.”

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10 Responses to “Real Reporters Don’t Wear Cuts”

  1. VFFV Says:

    So Freedom of speech and association is where again? One of my brothers was recently “let Go” after being reported by a fellow EMT that he belonged to a Club….it just keeps getting better and better. While politicians steal our money for shit like climate control,a brother who saves lives had to go..oh yea,did i mention he was a former Marine and Gulf war veteran….

  2. DirtyBruin Says:

    To borrow a British expression – “what rot.”

    If he’d been advocating for his club while on the job – I could understand firing him. If he’d referred to his “day job” position while speaking on behalf of his club in order to try and add authority to his statements – I could understand firing him. But it sounds like his club membership was far from unknown amongst his co-workers, and it doesn’t sound like he mixed the two in any objectionable way… so from what’s said here, it sounds to me like Auntie Beeb went over the line in firing the man.

  3. Jabba Says:

    In the UK, the BBC is well-known for having a very rigidly defined code of conduct with regard to what staff can do “out of hours”.

    For example, well-known TV presenters have been fired for doing simple voice-overs for things like soap powder commercials. News readers aren’t allowed to take part in current affairs broadcasts, because viewers might think that their opinion is reported fact. This sort of thing is explicitly included in employment terms and conditions. It’s not hidden in the small-print.

    Steve Jones would, or should, have been well aware that the BBC would not have approved of his representing his club in any media, whether it’s an MC, the Freemasons or the Church of England.

    Of course, the fact that it WAS the HA’s he spoke for, probably frightened the claret-swigging-fuckwits, that make those kinds of decisions, out of their leather upholstered, office chairs.

    Put the two together and his career at “the Beeb” is history. That’s the way they work, and they’re very open about it.

    The fact that he was completely and utterly correct about the Bash and the usual, ignorant, over-reaction of the pigs, would be irrelevant to everybody concerned – with the exception of the people that want to attend… as always.



  4. sled tramp Says:

    “I go out there so I can look at myself,
    and when I’m there I can see myself standing still,
    and the rest of the world going mad”.
    -Des Lavelle

    We belong to the groups we choose in life for our own reasons and needs.To expect people who don’t share our culture to embrace us and our associations is to assume we can assimilate our uniqueness,and consequently our strengths,into society without conflict or the loss of our souls.
    Ain’t gonna happen.
    We pay a high price to look proudly at ourselves in the mirror.

  5. Not Surprised Says:


    In the States such things as “morality clauses” are negotiated during pre-employment and are signed off on by employee and employer. Do you know if BBC has such an entity?

    Otherwise, I’d love to be this guy’s attorney. BBC fully admits this is why he was fired.

    Also, he is being represented by some British broadcaster’s guild… you know of them?

  6. TigGirl Says:

    Most news station employees referred to as “on air talent” have some sort of noncompete clause with a contract if they work in a major market here in the US. This can and usually does include aspects of their personal lives. They are allowed to do things for charities & such, but as a rep of that station & with prior permission from the station.
    If he had the same kind of situation with the BBC, then he knew what he was doing. He couldn’t have been in the business very long and think that he wouldn’t have repurcussions.
    My guess is he knew what he was doing & has a plan for his future in place.

    with Respect,

  7. Jabba Says:

    Not Surprised: Don’t know much more than I’ve already written. In the UK there have been some high profile TV people sacked by the BBC for very similar things in the past. This sort of thing isn’t without precedent.

    A big celebrity in the UK used to do a prime-time, popular science show and was sacked for doing a voice-over on a soap powder commercial. The BBC said that viewers might think it was science news and not advertising.

    Not quite the same, but you see where it would be unlikely that anybody would imagine they could do this without some sort of comeback?

    I’ve known one or two BBC employees and much of this is included in terms and conditions of standard contracts. This guy wasn’t a “big celebrity”, so I’d have thought it unlikely he had a solicitor or agent that negotiated a personal contract.

    The BBC is also a HUGE, publically funded organisation, with recourse to it’s own legal department and DEEP pockets. Taking them on would be a long, drawn-out, probably expensive process.

    I think TigGirl is probably right, or at least, he should have made some alternative employment plans.

    Still, people have taken on the Beeb and won before.



  8. Rebel Says:

    Dear Not Surprised,

    The Brits are surprisingly weak on civil liberties.

    This guy got axed because it was HA. He didn’t use his government name. He never tried to make a connection with the BBC. He just knew his way around the press so he acted as a spokesman.

    I don’t know, but I am pretty sure that if he was anonymously speaking on behalf of virtually any other fraternal organization there never would have been an investigation. There was only an investigation because it was HA and the Bulldog Bash.

    How you doing, by the way? You freezing your nuts off back there?


  9. Not Surprised Says:

    Tig and Jabba: Thanks

    Rebel: Yeah it got pretty cold for us. I’m good, thanks for asking.

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