Backlash after BBC Radio presenter asks CUSU Women’s Officer “who’s making lunch?”
But the BBC hit back and insist the comments made by presenter Paul Stainton on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire were “ironic”
CUSU Women’s Officer Charlotte Chorley has demanded an apology from the BBC after accusing Radio Cambridgeshire host Paul Stainton of “undermining my position and my voice”.
Chorley was invited to speak on Stainton’s radio show by Katherine Ganczakowski (BBC Trainee Broadcast Assistant) on Wednesday morning to make what she thought would be a “brief comment” on the controversy surrounding heavyweight champion boxer Tyson Fury.
However, Ganczakowski did not tell Chorley that she would be live on air.
In an interview earlier this month, Fury was accused of sexism when he said: “I believe 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.”
Introducing Chorley to his audience, the presenter Stainton began: “Welcome to the show, nice of you to get out of the kitchen and talk to us”, before asking “who is making lunch?”
Chorley responded with: “Hmm.. yeah, well, I’m currently sitting in my office, you know, doing my job.”
Listen to an audio clip of the exchange here:
Stainton argues that his comments were an ironic dig at Fury’s backwards comments about women and were not intended to be taken literally.
A BBC spokesperson firmly supported their presenter in a statement issued to Cambridge News on Wednesday afternoon, insisting: “Anybody listening to it would not be in any doubt that the comments were ironic given the subject under discussion at the time.”
Stainton’s comments, however, provoked a wave of outrage across social media, as CUSU officials took to Twitter to criticise the BBC presenter.
CUSU President Priscilla Mensah tweeted her outrage, accusing the BBC of “poor journalism”, while Jemma Stewart, who is also CUSU Coordinator, further questioned the radio station.
The torrent of backlash among students didn’t end there. On Facebook, Chorley launched another attack against the BBC.
She accused them of “absolutely shocking journalism” after claiming that she had been misled and did not expect to be pitted in a debate over free speech against Peter Reeve, UKIP councillor for Ramsey on Huntingdonshire District Council.
BBC presenter Stainton himself took to Twitter to shrug off the criticism, while Reeve also had his say.
After being invited to outline her position further, Chorley told The Tab: “I have since been asked by the station to re-listen to the debate, where it would apparently become clear that Paul was not meaning to offend. Whether Paul’s comments were meant to offend or not, they were derogatory and disrespectful, completely undermining my position and my voice.
“The hundreds of messages of support I’ve received is testament to the fact that his comments were offensive, and being asked to re-listen suggests that those at BBC Cambridgeshire are completely ignorant of how damaging Paul’s comments were.
“No further developments have occurred regarding an apology, but I still think it is necessary. Paul’s sexist ‘banter’ is completely unprofessional, and I’m not alone in thinking that. If he is to be a professional, then he should act like it. If he cannot, and fails to adhere to modern views of equality, then he shouldn’t be in the position, nor should he be representing the BBC.
“The fact that he did not even comment on Fury’s comments, which I was told would be the subject, is concerning. Fury’s comments, I think, make him an inappropriate candidate for SPOTY. The thousands of people who signed the change.org petition is testament to this.
“This award, designed to celebrate an athlete who has made an impact on public imagination, is not appropriate for Fury. As a role model, and as a recognised figure, the winner of the award is about so much more than sporting excellence. I think Fury’s misogynistic, homophobic and xenophobic comments make him entirely inappropriate.”
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