Petition to have Tyson Fury removed from the list of nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year for making homophobic slurs puts pressure on broadcaster
A petition set up by a Scots LGBT campaigner calling for boxer Tyson Fury to be removed from the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award has been signed 100,000 times.
Scott Cuthbertson, of the Equality Network, called for Fury, the heavyweight champion of the world, to be taken off the shortlist for making homophobic comments.
In an interview in the Mail on Sunday last month Fury criticised homosexuality and abortion comparing them to paedophilia.
He was quoted: "There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home: one of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other one's paedophilia.
"Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?"
Since his victory against Wladimir Klitschko on 28 November Fury, known as Gypsy King because of his Irish traveller heritage, has caused further outrage – this time about his views on women.
In an interview he was reported to have said: "I'm not sexist. 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."
Cuthbertson, development manager at the Equality Network, said: “Homophobia has long been a barrier to the participation of LGBTI people in sport.
The BBC clearly do not understand that by nominating Fury they are putting him up as a role model to young people all over the UK and the world
“Young people need sports personalities that they can look up to not people who express outrageous homophobic views, which can cause bullying and self-harm.
“As someone who works in the LGBTI human rights sector I've seen first-hand the barriers to sport for LGBTI people. The sports sector is working hard to be more inclusive and to welcome LGBTI people, Fury's comments set that cause back.”
The BBC has responded to the petition saying the nomination doesn’t mean that it endorses Fury’s views and added the nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which takes place on 20 December, were selected on their sporting achievements.
Cuthbertson added: “The BBC clearly do not understand that by nominating Fury, who has on a number of occasions expressed homophobic views and compared homosexuality to paedophilia, they are putting him up as a role model to young people all over the UK and the world.”
To view the petition visit the change.org website.