'It’s a pity my dentist doesn’t look like that' - BBC Wimbledon commentator apologises over remark about tennis player's girlfriend
Andrew Castle, the tennis commentator, has courted controversy after offering an opinion on the appearance of Marcus Willis’ girlfriend during the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon.
As Dr Jennifer Bate, a dental surgeon, appeared on-screen during Willis' second round defeat by Roger Federer, the 52-year-old said: “It’s a pity my dentist doesn’t look like that."
The remarks attracted criticism on social media as viewers labelled Mr Castle, a former player himself, both “sexist” and “lecherous” – eventually prompting the broadcaster to apologise for his comments after initially defending them on Twitter.
He wrote shortly after: “Brilliant. I knew there would be someone just you who would comment. Earnest, humourless and probably no fun at all. Regards.”
@AndrewCastle63 It's disappointing that some mistake funny, lighthearted comments for being sexist. I find it hilarious, no offence taken!— Jennifer Bate (@Jennyloubate) June 30, 2016
Responding to one user who bemoaned a lack of “enjoyment in the world”, Castle then offered an apology to anyone he may have been offended during the coverage. “Obviously never mean to upset anyone,” he added. “If I did then I apologise.”
It has been reported that the BBC have received a "small number" of complaints but it remains unclear if they will investigate after Dr Bate moved to reassure Castle that no offence had been taken on her part.
Addressing the issue on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, she said: “It's disappointing that some mistake funny, lighthearted comments for being sexist. I find it hilarious, no offence taken!”
Three years ago, John Inverdale was accused of misogyny after saying of Marion Bartoli’s appearance: “Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little: ‘You’re never going to be a looker’?”
Independent News Service