Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BBC Sports Personality and Young Sports Personality (Part 2)

Generally speaking the BBC is not noted as being a politically correct organisation - in fact the current Director-General, Mark Thompson, has sometimes been forthright in his support for anti-politically correct voices such as Jeremy Clarkson. And perhaps Clarkson, with his unashamed male chauvinistic message, has served to encourage the Corporation's disdain for women.

In September 2006 I blogged about misogyny on children's TV. Things have been slow to change, with boys dressing up as girls still good for a laugh, but never the other way round. Mark told Sam to "run like the girl that you are."

Three years later, on 8th October 2009 (3.55pm) CBBC continuity presenter Iain Stirling was similarly addressed by a CBBC colleague: "Iain you run like a girl, scream like a girl, are you a girl?" And a few minutes later: "Iain, I still can't get over the fact that you run like a girl. What's with you man? Sort it out."

Iain has frequently been a target at the BBC, and was referred to as a "pansy" during a continuity break on 23rd September 2010.

It's only been a year since solicitors for the Corporation were doing their best - with licence payers' money - to defeat Miriam O'Reilly in an Employment Tribunal after she'd been brave enough to stand up to the discrimination. Since then Miriam has been offered a few morsels of work at the BBC, but hardly enough to demonstrate any real degree of contriteness for what happened.

The BBC needs to improve its diversity credentials.

Surprising as it may seem, from the 1960's onwards the proportion of female winners of Sports Personality of the Year declined over each decade of the 20th century. And boys have outnumbered girls by more than two to one in the Young Sports Personality category, since its inception in 2001.

This year the shortlist for the Young Sports Personality was decided on 21st November. The panel reconvened on 6th December, and narrowed the shortlist to the top three - Lucy Garner, Lauren Taylor & Eleanor Simmonds. Maybe the panel thought this would help paper over the controversy about the main award. But only a complete culture change at the BBC, especially amongst its sports commentators, will subvert long-standing sexism and homophobia.

Following today's announcement that John Terry is to be charged over alleged racial abuse, Lord Ouseley from Kick It Out told BBC News at 4.09pm : ".. It's a very sad day for football, but it's also a day where hopefully the authorities are making it clear that racism, homophobia, sexism and other forms of unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated. People will not be allowed to get away with it, however difficult it is to establish the facts ..."

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