Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Monday, 7 December 2015

Meet Tyson Fury, The Homophobe Sexist The BBC Is Celebrating

Meet Tyson Fury, The Homophobe Sexist The BBC Is Celebrating

The Debrief: The boxer says his critics can ‘suck my balls’ after 50,000 sign a petition for him to NOT be considered for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year…

UPDATE: The BBC has made a statement saying: ‘Tyson Fury’s victory and subsequent crowning as world heavy weight champion was widely covered by media outlets and his inclusion on the shortlist is similarly recognition of his sporting achievement – it is not about endorsing his personal views. It will be for the public to decide who will be crowned Sports Personality of the Year 2015.’

This is despite the BBC’s terms and conditions for SPOTY, which states ‘[Part of the award] takes into account “impact” over and beyond the sport or sporting achievement in question’.

The BBc has also apologised for one of its presenters, Clive Myrie, calling Tyson a ‘dickhead’ at 23.47pm, a whopping two hours 47 minutes after the watershed.

Tyson yesterday told the Jeremy Vine show: ‘If it’s about personality, I should win this hands down. If it’s about sporting achievement, I should win this hands down.’

Tyson Fury is just one of 12 contenders to win the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award. And the heavyweight boxing champion has the idiosyncrasies of a personality – he’s a gypsy (he calls himself Gypsy_King on Twitter), he’s named after boxer/convicted rapist Mike Tyson, he’s from a long line of bare-knuckle fighters and he is obsessed with God and Jesus.

He’s also recently given an interview comparing homosexuality and abortion to paedophilia, and that once the latter is made legal just like the other two, then the devil will return.

Seriously, 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 is paedophilia. Who would have thought in the ’50s and ’60s that those first two would be legalised?

‘When I say paedophiles could be made legal, it sounds crazy. But if I had said to you about the first two being made legal in the ’50s, I would have been looked upon as a crazy man.’

He also made comments about fellow BBC SPOTY contender Jess Ennis-Hill. The Olympic heptathlete who won Great Britain a gold in 2012, and many others at similar championships, was reduced to this comment: ‘That’s the runner, isn’t it? I think she’s good, she’s won quite a few medals for Britain, she slaps up good as well, when she’s got a dress on she looks quite fit.’

His attempt at an apology came in the form of tweeting Jess – though she’s not even responded to his comments: ‘If I’m going to get in trouble for giving a woman a compliment what has the world come to, I said u look fit in a dress?’

It might seem like an anodyne thing to say, but if you look at Tyson’s previous form, it all paints a bigger picture. On women in boxing, he said: ‘I’m all for it. I’m not sexist. I think they are very nice when they're walking around that ring holding them cards.’

On what else women can be good for? He had this to say: ‘I believe if a man should go to work all his life, a woman can go to work as well. If you’re not good enough, you won’t make it anyway. Who am I to say don’t you do that because you’re a girl? What I believe is a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back. That’s my personal belief. Making me a good cup of tea, that’s what I believe.’

People are wondering now if the BBC should be celebrating this sort of personality by including Tyson in the shortlist. Over 78,000 people have signed an e-petition calling for him to be dropped from the BBC SPOTY shortlist based on his homophobia alone.

While Tyson’s athletic credentials are not up for debate – he’s the heavyweight champion and is the first person to beat Wladimir Klitschko in 10 years – what is debatable, though, is whether the BBC, a public service broadcaster, should condone this man’s ‘personality’.

The SPOTY award has been a bit problematic over the years. Not only for handing the personality-void Michael Owen award in 1998, but because only three women have been handed the award since then. And rewarding athletes for their personality seems a little misguided when we all know it’s OK for them to be a bit geeky or boring when they’re spending most of their days training.

While diversity in sports has a long way to go, it might not seem realistic to have 50:50 representation in the SPOTY shortlist. But one massive barrier to women and LGBT people taking part in sports is attitudes like Tyson’s making it seem like a hostile, intolerant world.

For the BBC to be effectively rewarding someone as purposefully antagonistic and hateful towards women and LGBT people is a bit of a slap in the face to all those sportspeople who work really hard and don’t use some bizarre interpretation of religion or their sporting prowess to justify their bigotry.

Tyson is aware of the petition and has said that these people ‘can suck my balls’.

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Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: FFS News, Sports