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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Journalist apologises after he is accused of 'fat-shaming' politician

Naomi Long
Naomi Long

Media commentator Jude Collins has apologised after receiving widespread criticism for comments on the weight of Alliance leader Naomi Long.

Writing on his blog, Mr Collins said that the first thing he noticed when Mrs Long appeared on television was her "weight problem".

The long-time journalist speculated that Mrs Long may be suffering from a medical condition.

Responding to his comments on Twitter, the East Belfast MLA said that Mr Collins “no right to speculate” about her health. She said the comments were also evidence “of his misogyny as well as his lack of manners.”

The Alliance leader received support from across the political spectrum, with many criticising Mr Collins on social media for "fat shaming".

In a blog post on Monday Mr Collins said that a "multitude of people" had contacted him to tell him how obnoxious his comments were.

"I’ve gone back and looked at what I said and I can see that what I wrote could well have been hurtful to Naomi," he wrote.

Mr Collins removed the offending paragraph from his blog and said he had "no hesitation in apologizing to the Alliance party leader for my crassness and any hurt this may have caused her. I hope she will accept that apology."

He said that he was trying to make a general point about "audio-visual media and television," saying "in particular pay a lot of attention to image as well as sound, remains undeniable".

"I’d emphasise that the above isn’t an attempt to slide away from my regret over my paragraph on Naomi. That was bad judgement and bad taste, and I shouldn’t have written it. Mea culpa," Mr Collins wrote.

Mrs Long has yet to respond to Mr Collins apology.

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