Clare Balding delighted at ‘dyke on a bike’ ruling
BBC sports presenter’s complaint against AA Gill is upheld by press watchdog
The BBC sports presenter Clare Balding appears to have won a victory of sorts in her row with writer AA Gill, who described her in a Sunday Times column as a "dyke on a bike".
Gill, who made the comments in a review of a TV show about the lesbian presenter cycling across Britain, has been criticised by the Press Complaints Commission – which upheld a complaint by Balding.
The PCC called the word dyke a "pejorative synonym", adding that it referred to Balding's sexuality in a "demeaning and gratuitous way".
It is hard to imagine the columnist losing sleep over the outcome, though. He has a history of making near-the-knuckle remarks, and the initial comments themselves came as part of a mock apology, in which he wrote:
"Some time ago, I made a cheap and frankly unnecessary joke about Clare Balding looking like a big lesbian. And afterwards somebody tugged my sleeve to point out that she is a big lesbian.
"Now back to the dyke on a bike, puffing up the nooks and crannies at the bottom end of the nation."
Sunday Times editor John Witherow further enraged Balding when he replied to her initial complaint about the article: "The gay community need to stop regarding themselves as having a special victim status and behave like any other sensible group that is accepted by society."
Balding responded: "When the day comes that people stop resigning from high office, being disowned by their families, getting beaten up and in some instances committing suicide because of their sexuality, you may have a point."
The presenter said she was "delighted" at the PCC decision. ·
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