“We use a range of caricatures and illustrations in our concert programmes and wanted one of Leopold Auer,” a BBC spokesperson said in an email to The Algemeiner. “We’re sorry to anyone who was offended by the image choice – this was never our intention.”
The spokesperson also said the BBC has “no plans to use that image again.”
The offensive illustration of Auer appeared in the program for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. The concert was part of the BBC Proms, an eight week-long festival of concerts, lectures, workshops and family events, ending with the famous Last Night of the Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A number of composers specifically dedicated pieces to Auer, including Tchaikovsky.
Violin teacher Nigel Goldberg was outraged by the illustration and told the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle: “It is an antisemitic cartoon and it is completely out of context… There is no explanation of the image at all. Anyone I’ve shown it to, Jewish or not, has been stunned.”
London native Gillian Stern told the publication she was shocked that a “hideously and very obviously antisemitic cartoon” would be published by the festival. She addressed BBC Proms on Twitter last week asking for an explanation. Calling the offensive caricature “extraordinary,” she said, “I can’t get my head around why they would have picked that.” Other social media users also questioned the BBC‘s choice of imagery.