Sky Sports sexism: Gray fired, Keys in new clip

Jan 26, 2011
Jonathan Harwood

Sky pundit Andy Gray dismissed for ‘offensive behaviour’ as new footage of Richard Keys emerges

Sky Sports football pundit Andy Gray was sacked on Tuesday and the position of his co-host and main anchor Richard Keys remains in the balance after yet more footage of sexist behaviour appeared on YouTube.
The latest excruciating clip - the fourth to surface this week, and the second from the same source - shows Keys talking to studio guests Jamie Redknapp, Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness before a Champions League game at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground.
Talking to Redknapp about a woman who was mentioned off-screen, Keys asks him: "Did you smash it?"
Redknapp replies that he used to go out with the woman in question. And the news prompts the kind of reaction from Keys that would not have been out of place in a 1970s sitcom. "Mind you, that is a stupid question, if you were anywhere near it," opined the anchorman. "You definitely smashed it."
Then, reclining back on his chair and placing his feet on the table, he added: "You could have gone round there any night and found Redknapp hanging out of the back of it."
His distasteful use of sexual metaphor and reference to the woman as "it" do not appear to go down well with studio guests. Redknapp laughs nervously, Gullit studies his phone and Souness pretends to kick Keys.
This latest video was posted online hours after Gray was given his marching orders when a clip emerged of him making lewd comments to his co-host, reporter Charlotte Jackson, during rehearsals for the Sky Sports Christmas Special.
In that footage, he asks the 33-year-old presenter to tuck his microphone pack down his trousers. Jackson ignores the comment, but he and his sidekick Keys, who is also in shot, can't resist sniggering.
This – coming after the sexist comments against lineswoman Sian Massey – was apparently the last straw for Sky Sports who announced Gray had been fired "in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour".
However, the presenter is not taking his dismissal lying down and has appointed City law firm Schillings to act on his behalf.
As The First Post reported yesterday, there is an element of political intrigue about the case, as Gray is one of the celebrities suing the News of the World over the phone hacking scandal, and the paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Sky. There has been plenty of conjecture that Gray was hung out to dry by the organisation as a result.
Other old-school football commentators have sprung to his defence. Former manager Ron Atkinson, whose mainstream media career died an instant death in 2004 when he was caught on camera calling Marcel Desailly a "fucking lazy thick nigger", told BBC local radio that "a suspension would have been the correct decision".
Sky will also be concerned that the two recent clips of Gray and then Keys that appeared online were posted by the same person, under the name SteveSimons409. By Wednesday morning, the account had been deleted.

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