BBC suspends journalist who spoke out over Tyson Fury Spoty nomination

BBC Northern Ireland has suspend one of its journalists for criticising the corporation’s decision to allow Tyson Fury on the nomination list for its Sports Personality of the Year award (Spoty).

Presenter Andy West has been active in his denunciation of the controversial heavyweight boxer who linked homosexuality to paedophilia in an interview with the Mail on Sunday and has been suspended by the broadcaster as a result.

On his Facebook page West said he was “ashamed to work for the BBC” after Fury was announced as a nominee for the award.

The post continued: “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 BBC spokesperson said it does “not routinely comment on individual staff matters”.

The Belfast-based journalist is also understood to have written a letter to BBC director general Tony Hall over Fury’s nomination.

Hall is to be questioned by the culture, media and sport select committee next Wednesday (16 December) over the matter. The corporation insists that the nominations for Spoty are made by an independent panel however it has come under mounting pressure in the form of an online petition which has so far collected 124,000 signatures calling for Fury to be taken off the shortlist.

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