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Please keep complaining to the BBC about the John Inverdale incident

(48 Posts)
LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 10:36:44

I am fucking fuming.

I took the time to write a complaint to the BBC not about the incident itself, but about the BBC's utterly inadequate response which labelled his comments as 'insensitive' and 'clumsy' and to apologise 'if any offence was caused'. I complained that the BBC had completely missed the point and had failed to acknowledge that these comments (and many others made throughout their Wimbledon coverage (on both TV and Radio) are clear indications that the BBC tolerates overt sexism. These comments were not 'insensitive', which suggests that they were accurate but somewhat tactless, they were overtly sexist and deeply offensive. It is unimaginable that BBC staff would have made an equivalent comment about Andy Murray having to rethink his career plans on the basis of being less ?of a looker? than Rafa Nadel.
Their reply?

The same standard 'apologise if any offense was caused' shite. No acknowledgement that there was any wrong doing here.

In my opinion the BBC needs to publically acknowledge the sexist behaviour of its staff and make a clear statement that this will not be tolerated in the future. And this will only happen if we keep the pressure on.

On a positive note, their online complaints form is very easy to use smile

NumTumDeDum Sat 13-Jul-13 10:43:53

You're right. I will do this when I get home and can use the laptop. Nothing changes unless we make a stand.

MarjorieAntrobus Sat 13-Jul-13 10:48:42

The online complaints form is here

Pagwatch Sat 13-Jul-13 10:49:35

I did exactly the same and got a copy of the bloody apology I was complaining about hmm
Thick or fudging.

MarjorieAntrobus Sat 13-Jul-13 10:51:21

The BBC's response to the complaints about Inverdale's remarks about Bartoli is here

LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 11:00:18

Thanks Majorie.

The response they sent me was pretty much the same:

"Thank you very much for getting in touch with us about our Wimbledon 2013 coverage, specifically BBC Radio 5 Live’s broadcast leading up to the Women’s final on Saturday.

We were naturally very sorry to learn of listener unhappiness over John Inverdale’s comments about French player Marion Bartoli’s appearance, so we immediately reviewed the programme segment and raised the concerns with the senior management team responsible within BBC Radio 5 Live.

John Inverdale is one of our most experienced presenters, however we do accept that in the run-up to Saturday’s Wimbledon Ladies’ Final John made an insensitive comment regarding Marion Bartoli.

John has apologised for this remark and acknowledges that it was “clumsy”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live subsequently, John went on to explain that, “The point I was trying to make, in a rather ham-fisted kind of way, was that in a world where the public perception of tennis players is that they are all six feet Amazonian athletes, Marion, who is the Wimbledon Champion, bucks that trend and she is a fantastic example to all young people that it’s attitude and will and determination, together obviously with talent, that does in the end get you to the top”.

John has also written a personal apology to Marion Bartoli to express his regret if any offence was caused.

Thank you again for getting in touch and allowing us to investigate, respond and apologise for any offence caused by the comments."

LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 11:01:22

I just hate that his behaviour legitimises all the sexist fuckers making similar comments at home.

daimbardiva Sat 13-Jul-13 11:10:32

I got exactly the same reply, regardless of the fact I was also complaining about the inadequacy and wrong-ness of the apology itself (I didn't use the woed 'wrong-ness' in rhe complaint!) Really frustrating, they're obviously just sending it out as standard

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 13-Jul-13 11:23:42

...and she is a fantastic example to all young people that it’s attitude and will and determination, together obviously with talent, that does in the end get you to the top”.

Oh my God ... screw that. What a load of total bull. That is so not what you meant John, and you know it.

You meant to criticise - and laugh at - her looks. You meant to have a snigger with your mates.

And as for the quote above, come on. Yes, clever boy, indeed it IS 'attitude, will, determination and talent' that gets you to the top. But all tennis players display those qualities, regardless of their looks and their Amazonian qualities. <rolls eyes off head into stratosphere>

LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 11:26:37

... and don't start me on all the "oh look she is pretty after all" photos that started circulating (mainly from women) on twitter...


LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 11:27:57

... and I was really looking forward to watching some of the rowing from this weekend, which I now can't do because I'll end up punching the TV...

<sad sports geek>

LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 11:30:33

This article in the Independent has cheered me up a bit smile

Curing men of sexism:

80sMum Sat 13-Jul-13 11:43:06

I don't think that the comments were of much concern to Miss Bartoli herself. She didn't lodge a complaint, probably just shrugged her shoulders and got on with it.

I don't quite understand all the fuss. Didn't people used to pass comment about Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graff on a similar vein? They didn't give a s**t and neither does Marion Bartoli from what I can gather.

LieweHeksie Sat 13-Jul-13 11:52:58

That is exactly the point. People have been spouting this shit about FEMALE tennis players for as long as they have been playing. But not about the MALE tennis players. Yes we get the occasional comments about the good looks for particular men, but never the persistent negative comments about those who are not deemed to have model-like beauty.

Marion Bartoli responded with intelligence and grace to these comments. She wants to focus on being a professional tennis player and not get embroiled in a public spat. That doesn't mean that the rest of us have to find them acceptable.

When I was in my 20s I put up with a whole heap of sexist shite because I worked in a male dominated environment. It never occurred to me to make a fuss because I didn't want my identity within that industry to be 'that bitch who makes a fuss and can't take a joke'. I respect MB for not making a fuss, but that don't make the comments ok.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 13-Jul-13 21:16:46


Besides, we have no actual idea whether Marion, Martina, et al give a shit or not.

It would take a resolve of utter steel not to be affected by these comments in the slightest - there are said to be hurtful, and in front of an audience of millions. If they can shrug them off and not be bothered even the tiniest bit, then I admire them even more. But likewise, I wouldn't blame them in the slightest bit if, actually, they were a bit upset by them.

It the thing is, we don't know and never will, because they don't deign to play into these idiots hands.

But the crux of it is, here we are, in 2013, and still - a woman's level of attractiveness is always, always relevant. Even when it couldn't be less relevant, it's still the most relevant thing.

Some people might not find that depressing. I do.

NewLifeDownSouth Sun 14-Jul-13 09:17:42

I complained last week, got the same response as Liewe but am going to complain again. It was not clumsy, it was offensive.

KaseyM Sun 14-Jul-13 21:24:22

I agree totally wth Liewe. I think that the media has made looks such a big deal to women that very few women would be able to take negative comments on the chin without being secretly upset.

Of course no one wants to appear upset because we could be accused of being whiney and over-sensitive. So we have to do the "oh no that doesn't bother me!" act.

Boy, they have us right where they want us!

Kiriwawa Mon 15-Jul-13 06:30:28

I got the same standard response within seconds so clearly no one is even reading the complaints

PeoniesPlease Thu 18-Jul-13 11:18:42

I just sent a similar complaint, but I don't get the impression that they intend to act on them. I'm fed up with sexism not being taken seriously. Grr.

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 18-Jul-13 16:18:15

They were talking about it in Jeremy vine today - the woman from everyday sexism was excellent but overall it was v depressing.

ListWriter Thu 18-Jul-13 17:53:20

The culture secretary maria miller complained as well. Was that today or did it just make the news because she's boycotting the golf as well?

grimbletart Thu 18-Jul-13 20:18:32

northernlurker Thu 18-Jul-13 20:30:37

Thing is though I think you have to consider taking his apology and clarification as stated. It's not really in anybody's interests to maintain a policy of outrage that cannot be ameliorated by compensatory action. If he said he stood by his remarks or had added more then yes - keep complaining but what's actually happened is a reporter on live tv said something offensive when they had the intention of explaining not offending. They have apologised and clarified and written directly the subject of the remark. What more is proportionately required? Should he lose his job? Do we actually want to see people lose their jobs for remarks which they retract and apologise for? I certainly don't. I doubt Marion Bartoli does either.

Pagwatch Thu 18-Jul-13 20:56:36

I want to agree Northern, I understand your point - and I don't want him to lose his job. but I wish someone involved (preferably him and whoever drafted that lame ass apology) would say
'actually I have thought about it and wtf as what she looks like got to do with anything'

I am not a complaining kind of person but tbh his apology was more irritating to me because it is kind of 'gosh I didn't mean to call her a munter' rather than 'actually what was I thinking!'

BasilBabyEater Thu 18-Jul-13 21:17:30

On one level your thing of he's apologised, therefore what more is there to do is right Northern, but I still feel there is more to do.

Because no one would say if he'd apologised for making a racist remark, that he's apologised so it's OK.

I want sexism to be taken as seriously as racism, because I think there is no moral difference demoting someone's humanity because of their sex, and doing so because of their race.

And if we accept every apology every nob makes every time they make sexist remarks, this will never happen. Sexism will always be acceptable in the way that racism simply isn't anymore. 30 years ago, a man in his position could have made a racist remark and kept his job. Now, he can't. But he can if he goes for sexism. Why is that OK?

What the BBC could do, is look at its policy on sexism and get its staff trained up in why women are human beings just like men and so you need to talk about them with exactly the same assumption of their humanity as you would about that of a man.

I realise that's a little wooly and long-winded, but that's basically what I'm thinking.

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