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SBD Global/July 8, 2013/Media

Pressure Mounts On BBC After Presenter Criticizes Marion Bartoli's Appearance

Marion Bartoli celebrates her Wimbledon victory Saturday.
The BBC "faced mounting pressure on Sunday to take action against one its most high-profile sports presenters for criticising the appearance of France's Marion Bartoli," who won this year's Wimbledon women's singles title, according to Belinda Goldsmith of REUTERS. Presenter John Inverdale "incensed radio listeners" before Bartoli beat German Sabine Lisicki when he asked if people thought her father told her when little she was never going to be "a looker" like Maria Sharapova so she would have to fight harder for success. The BBC, Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, "apologised for the comments" after a storm of protests on Twitter, admitting the remark was "insensitive." Inverdale said on Sunday he had "written to apologise to Bartoli," and told listeners ahead of Sunday' men's final that he used "a clumsy phrase" about Bartoli in trying to make a point that not all players need to be "6 ft fall Amazonian athletes." A BBC spokesperson, however, said that the corporation "had apologised and so had Inverdale and that there were no plans for further action to be taken" (REUTERS, 7/7).

BARTOLI NOT BOTHERED: The HERALD SCOTLAND reported Bartoli said that "she would not let comments about her appearance from a senior BBC presenter spoil the greatest day of her life." Bartoli said, "It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes." Inverdale told his listeners he poked fun at the player's looks "in a nice way." He added, "She is an incredible role model for people who aren't born with all the attributes of natural athletes" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 7/7). In London, Esther Addley reported in remarks to French journalists, Bartoli added that "she wanted the BBC man to come and see her at the traditional end-of-Wimbledon ball in London." Bartoli said, "Good, I invite this journalist to come and see me this evening in ball gown and heels, and in my opinion he could change his mind" (GUARDIAN, 7/7).
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