Andy West: Reporter at centre of Tyson Fury row touched by support
A gay journalist who quit BBC Northern Ireland in the wake of the Tyson Fury controversy has spoken of the extraordinary support he received during a "very difficult time".
Andy West said he decided to leave the BBC weeks after he criticised their refusal to remove the controversial world heavyweight boxing champion from the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year Awards, which were held in Belfast in December.
Meanwhile, Fury has apologised again if his outspoken comments about gays, paedophiles and women hurt anyone's feelings - but added that he would not apologise for his beliefs.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed yesterday that Mr West had left the corporation and is now pursuing a new career writing and illustrating children's books.
The former reporter, once a familiar face on news bulletins, had accused his employer of "hurting me and other gay people by celebrating someone who considers me no better than a paedophile".
The award-winning journalist took to his Facebook account yesterday to say he was sorry to have left the BBC.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone who has given me such extraordinary support during a very difficult time. There are moments in life when you have to choose between your principles and your contract, money and your beliefs, security and what you feel is right," he wrote.
"I am sorry to have left the BBC and I will sorely miss the incredible team at BBC NI. They are a fantastic newsroom and I am blessed to have worked with them all. I sincerely hope to work for the BBC again. It is a precious institution and I know its custodians will take great care not to damage its reputation as the home of free and fair thought."
Fury has admitted he should learn when to keep his opinions to himself. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: "I've had a good stern telling off from the Boxing Board of Control.
"They said 'You're the heavyweight champion of the world. Act responsibly.' I apologise if I've hurt anyone in the past, but I don't apologise for my beliefs.
"We live and learn. We learn what to talk about and what not to talk about.
"My opinions are my opinions and I should keep them to myself rather than voice them to strangers."