Watch: Mizzy calls out BBC for platforming Andrew Tate live on Newsnight
The BBC has come under fire for giving a platform to controversial TikTok prankster Mizzy after he appeared on Newsnight on Thursday - the same day the broadcaster aired an interview with Andrew Tate.
The decision to include 18-year-old Mizzy, whose real name is Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, in the Newsnight item was criticised widely, with the teen himself also pointing out that the BBC had given both him and Tate a 'platform'.
The prankster was issued with a two-year criminal behaviour order in March relating to his pranks, then was arrested again just two days later on suspicion of breaching it.
His pranks include entering people’s houses without their permission, taking hats off strangers’ heads in the street, and going into staff-only areas in various chains.
Critics accuse him of deliberately intimidating or 'terrorising' people.
Following Mizzy's appearance on BBC's Newsnight on Thursday night, critics said the broadcaster should not have given him a platform given his behaviour.
Sunder Katwala, director of think tank British Future, which aims to promote inclusivity, said: "This Mizzy character simply would not be on any TV news shows except for his undertaking criminal intimidation of women & others, then publicising it online as if a great jape.
"I don't think any news channel should reward or incentivise that. The BBC should be the last to do so."
He added: "Would be interested to see a complete list of 18 year olds interviewed by Piers Morgan + by Newsnight in studio in 2023 (& of young black 18 year olds). It seems weird & wrong on many levels for this to be (sole?) route to TV platform. Editorial choice may stereotype youth too."
Mizzy was previously interviewed on Piers Morgan’s Talk TV show, when he claimed that the reason he has got away with his stunts is because "UK laws are weak".
His latest mainstream TV interview - which Mizzy promoted on his own social media channels - came on the same day the BBC aired Andrew Tate's first television interview with a major broadcaster since being released into house arrest from police custody in Romania in April.
— mizzy (@mizzyisbanned) June 1, 2023
Tate faces accusations of rape, human trafficking and exploiting women, for which he is being investigated by Romanian prosecutors. He denies all of them.
Domestic abuse campaigner David Challen, whose successfully campaigned to free his mother Sally Challen after she was jailed for killing his father following years of coercive control, slammed the BBC for giving a platform to both Mizzy and Tate.
He wrote: "Why on earth are you not only platforming a man charged and under house arrest for human trafficking but also a man who asks girls on train platforms at night if they want to die??"
Claire Fox, former MEP and now Baroness Fox of Buckley, said the prankster had "run rings" around the BBC on the programme, both for inviting him on and for airing the interview with Andrew Tate.
She said: "Mizzy & Tate may 'do' notoriety for clicks/fame; What's the BBC's excuse Cringeworthy/humiliating."
Another tweet branding the BBC's decision "idiotic" had already received more than 6,000 likes by Friday morning, suggesting support for the view that the broadcaster should not have given the prankster a platform.
Mizzy himself pointed out during his Newsnight appearance that despite its criticism of him, the BBC had given both him and Tate a platform.
"You guys give him the platform," he said. "You’re giving me the platform right now. Everything I’m doing is bad apparently... I’m on BBC News. Come on now, you're playing the game.
"Why are you giving him a platform? Why are you broadcasting what he's doing?"
Asked what appealed to people about Tate, he said it was: "his confidence and his stride and the way he talks and carries himself".
Tate's comments have included suggesting that women "belong" to men, and saying if a woman accused him on cheating: "It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck".
Watch: Influencer Andrew Tate briefly leaves house arrest for questioning
The popularity of the former Big Brother star among teenage boys had led to widespread concerns of the effect his views were having on their attitudes and behaviour.
But Mizzy suggested that he did not agree with Tate's views, telling Newsnight: "I respect women fully, I was raised by a single mum, I lived in the 'hood.
"I was raised down, so you guys need to understand that I'm not in any shape or way supporting what Andrew Tate says about women or any of that thing. I'm not supporting it."
Asked if he looked up to Tate, he said: "I don't look up to Andrew Tate. I don't think he's a role model. I don't look up to nobody, I am my own person and everyone is their own person. We don't need to look up to nobody."
Pointing the finger at the BBC, he said: I'm not here to make money out of Andrew Tate, that's what you're doing realistically."