Sunday 21 January 2018

BBC presenter says sorry after making fat joke about football fans

Robert Dex

BBC sports presenter Dan Walker has apologised after "humiliating" two football fans by joking about their weight.

A member of the public complained about an edition of Football Focus featuring an interview with former Brazil striker Ronaldo who has put on weight since his playing days.

Following the interview, carried out by Gary Lineker, the programme cut back to a football stadium and showed two fans in the crowd - prompting Walker to quip: “Looks like those two fellows are on the Ronaldo diet.”

A member of the public complained saying the comment was insulting to Ronaldo and both fans, said the report by the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC).

It stated Walker said it after he “overheard an off-the-cuff remark made during a discussion between the programme's editor and director via talkback about the two fans, and thought that this would be a light-hearted line to use at the end of the interview, despite not having seen the pictures”.

The report said Walker had emailed the complainant to apologise and recognised “his words were ill-judged”.

It went on: “The committee did not consider that in isolation an off-the-cuff remark which implied Ronaldo was overweight would have been in itself offensive given he is a public figure and his weight and level of fitness as a former player were of interest. However, the committee felt that the comment referring to the two identifiable fans who are not public figures was humiliating.”

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