If beating up your national broadcaster was an Olympic sport, Great Britain would almost certainly be gold medal favourites.
While the athletes’ achievements are rightly dominating the news agenda, the BBC’s coverage of Rio 2016 has been creating headlines of its own.
Some of the criticism has been bizarre, some causally sexist. Other grumbles, however, have been fully justified.
The shocking ‘homophobic’ remark.
The BBC apologised on Tuesday after tennis commentator Paul Hand appeared to make a homophobic remark while presenting coverage of the women’s singles medal chase.
Hand was enjoying footage of the so-called kiss cam — where spectators share an embrace when they appear on the big screen — during Johanna Konta’s clash with Svetlana Kuznetsova.
After a number of heterosexual couples were featured, Hand blurted out: “Let’s hope they don’t go on to two blokes sat next to each other.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “The comment was ill judged and we apologise to any of our viewers who were offended.”
The comment was spotted by Twitter user Lee Stanley, who said: “Homophobia has no place in sports or sports commentary.”
The rampant casual sexism
BBC presenter Helen Skelton has been poolside for the swimming. Alan Tyers, a sports writer at The Telegraph, said she has brought “energy and warmth” to the broadcaster’s output.
Most of the British press however, have chosen to focus on Skelton’s sartorial decisions — or more specifically her short dresses.
She has made the front pages.
Monday’s Daily Mail front page:
And a swift Google turns up this lot.
Such was the furore, The Huffington Post published an article simply headlined: “Woman Wears Dress.”
The bizarre complaints about ‘spoilers.’
Always ready to report anger at the BBC with gusto, The Telegraph brought us this story about viewers complaining about spoilers.
On Sunday, BBC 1 aired coverage of Team GB fencer Richard Kruse’s bronze medal battle with Russia’s Timur Safin on a five-minute time delay.
This meant that Kruse’s defeat was already on social media before BBC 1’s coverage had concluded. Dual screening viewers were caught out, including Alice Arnold, the wife of BBC Olympics presenter Clare Balding.
The Telegraph laid blame at the door of BBC Radio 5 Live. The radio station aired the fencing live and — along with many others — tweeted the result.
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