Monday 26 September 2016

'My employer is hurting me' - BBC suspend reporter following Tyson Fury criticism

David Young

Published 10/12/2015 | 12:40

Tyson Fury
Tyson Fury

A BBC reporter who criticised the corporation for nominating boxer Tyson Fury for the Sports Personality of the Year award says he has been suspended.

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The action against Andy West, who works for BBC Northern Ireland, came after he made online comments that he was "ashamed" to work for the broadcaster.

The gay journalist from England criticised the BBC's decision to choose Fury as a nominee for its prestigious annual sports award despite the boxer's controversial views on homosexuality.

BBC Northern Ireland will be heavily involved in covering this year's ceremony in Belfast later this month.

In his original Facebook post, Mr West wrote: "My employer is hurting me and other gay people by celebrating someone who considers me no better than a paedophile and who believes homosexual people are helping to bring about the end of the world.

"It's tempting to see him for the laughable idiot he is but sadly there are many other idiots who will be inspired and encouraged by his naive, juvenile bigotry. I am ashamed to work for the BBC when it lacks bravery to admit it is making a mistake."

In a Twitter post on Thursday, West said he had been suspended: "I can't say more but, as of yesterday, I am suspended by the BBC pending investigation. I made my bed now I have time to lie in it!"

The BBC said: "We do not routinely comment on individual staff matters."

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Fury has been criticised since a November interview with the Mail on Sunday in which he said: "There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one's paedophilia."

The boxer has also been accused of sexism after a YouTube video emerged of him saying Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill "slaps up good", before adding: "A woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back - that's my personal belief."

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they are investigating hate crime allegations against the boxer.

More than 130,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Fury to be removed from the shortlist for the BBC sports award.

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