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SBD Global/August 1, 2013/Media

BBC Presenter's 'Sexist' Comments Draw Criticism From British Culture Secretary Miller

Jessica Ennis-Hill looks on during the Anniversary Games Saturday.

The British government "has again attacked the BBC for sexist sports coverage" after presenter Colin Murray said that Olympic Gold Medalist Jessica Ennis-Hill "had the ultimate bottom," according to Martin Robinson of the London DAILY MAIL. A capacity crowd at the Olympic Stadium was left shocked by Murray's comments just weeks after John Inverdale said Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli "was never going to be a looker." Colin Murray "had been given the job of geeing up the crowd at the Anniversary Games in the Olympic Stadium." The 36-year-old told the 80,000 people there that the ultimate athlete would have "The stamina of Mo (Farah), the speed of (Usain) Bolt, the leap of (Greg) Rutherford and the bottom of Jess Ennis." Although his comments were not broadcast, "it led to a row on Twitter where the Northern Irish presenter was accused of sexism" and living in the '50s (DAILY MAIL, 7/30).

CONFRONTING THE PROBLEM: In London, Ian Burrell wrote comments made by Murray "have been cited by the Culture Secretary Maria Miller as further evidence that the broadcaster needs to do more to confront sexism." Sources close to Miller said that "she did not consider the matter closed and was urgently seeking further information from the BBC about action on more positive representation of women in sport." One source said, "[BBC Dir General] Tony Hall claimed the Inverdale incident was a one-off and had been dealt with but we have seen other occurrences including this one at the Anniversary Games, which clearly underlines the need for positive action on this issue." Murray, who has been surprised at some of the negative reaction to his comment, "tried to play down the matter on Twitter." Murray tweeted, "Hey guys, I said she was the 'greatest all round athlete in the world.'" He received many messages of support online "from those who thought the criticism was unjustified" (INDEPENDENT, 7/30).

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