Wednesday 18 October 2017

BBC chief condemns 'sexist' Inverdale remarks

BBC presenter John Inverdale
BBC presenter John Inverdale

Antony Stone

BBC director-general Tony Hall has responded to Culture Secretary Maria Miller's concerns about "sexist" comments made by presenter John Inverdale, pictured, saying he found them "totally unacceptable" and that they fell below expected standards.

Mr Hall said such an incident "must never happen again" and assured her the BBC had a "proud record" of supporting women's sport, as well as working hard to ensure respect in the workplace.

It followed a robust letter he received from Ms Miller in which she attacked sexist sports coverage and asked to be kept informed about any further action which would be taken over Inverdale's comments on BBC Radio '5 Live'.

More than 600 people complained about the broadcaster when he said Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli was "never going to be a looker", ahead of the women's singles final.

In his response, Mr Hall said: "I agree the comments made by John were totally unacceptable and fell well beneath the standards we expect of our presenters.

"John sincerely regrets that he made such an inappropriate statement and for the offence caused. As he said on-air the following day, he has written to Marion Bartoli to apologise and the BBC has also apologised for John's remarks.

"In addition, the director of sport and the controller of '5 Live' have both spoken to John to make it clear that. . . an incident of this nature must never happen again."

Ms Miller wrote: "I am sure you will agree it is vital that women and girls in this country feel motivated both to take part in and to watch coverage of sport, and to know that they are. . . catered for by the media as much as the male audience."

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