A BBC journalist has been suspended by the corporation after stating he was “ashamed” that his employer had invited the boxer Tyson Fury to its Sports Personality Of The Year show.
Andy West confirmed his suspension from work at BBC Northern Ireland on his Facebook page on Thursday morning.
“I can’t say more but, as of yesterday, I am suspended by the BBC pending investigation. I made my bed now I have time to lie in it!” West wrote.
West was angry over Fury’s attempt to link homosexuality to paedophilia in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.
Tyson Fury’s comments on homosexuality:

“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?”

“Homosexuality, abortion and paedophilia – them three things need to be accomplished before the world finishes. That’s what the Bible tells me.”

In his online post, West wrote: “My employer is hurting me and other gay people by celebrating someone who considers me no better than a paedophile and who believes homosexual people are helping to bring about the end of the world.

“It’s tempting to see him for the laughable idiot he is but sadly there are many other idiots who will be inspired and encourage by his naive, juvenile bigotry. I am ashamed to work for the BBC when it lacks bravery to admit it is making a mistake.”

A change.org petition has already achieved over 130,000 signatures calling for the BBC to rescind Fury’s Nomination. The petition reads:

The BBC have announced their shortlist for BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015. Included is boxer Tyson Fury who has repeatedly expressed homophobic views.

As recently as this month Fury told the Mail on Sunday that there were three things that needed to happen “before the devil comes home”, he continued “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?”

Homophobia has long been a barrier to the participation of LGBTI people in Sport. Young people need sports personalities that they can look up to not people who express outrageous homophobic views, which can cause bullying and self-harm.

As someone who works in the LGBTI human rights sector I’ve seen first hand the barriers to sport for LGBTI people. The sports sector is working hard to be more inclusive and to welcome LGBTI people, Fury’s comments set that cause back.

The BBC have put out a statement in response to our petition saying “The nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year are decided on their sporting achievements. As Fury became heavyweight champion of the world over the weekend, the panel feel that he should be a contender for this year’s award.”

The BBC clearly do not understand that by nominating Fury, who has on a number of occasions expressed homophobic views and compared homosexuality to paedophilia, they are putting him up as a role model to young people all over the UK and the world.

It has also been confirmed by the BBC that Fury was only added to the list ‘at the last minute’ to reflect the ‘weekends sporting success’. Please, if you can, share the petition on social media and encourage your friends to sign.

If you are inclined you can also make a complaint to the BBC directly by following this link.

There is NO place for homophobia in sport.