Belfast Telegraph

BBC NI reporter confirms he's suspended after criticising corporation over Tyson Fury SPOTY row

Andy West said he was "ashamed to work for the BBC" after their handling of Sports Personality of the Year

By Claire Williamson

A BBC Northern Ireland journalist has confirmed he has been suspended by the corporation after criticising their decision to keep boxer Tyson Fury on the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Andy West, a BBC NI news presenter became embroiled in the Tyson Fury row when he wrote on his Facebook that he was "ashamed to work for the BBC", according to BuzzFeed News.

The journalist was responding to the row over Tyson Fury still being included in the shortlist for the awards despite more than 100,000 people signing a petition for his removal following his controversial comments on abortion, women and homosexuality.

Read more:

Tyson Fury row: BBC NI reporter 'threatened with suspension' after saying he was 'ashamed' to work for broadcaster

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Mr West wrote online: "My employer is hurting me and other gay people by celebrating someone who considers me no better than a paedophile and who believes homosexual people are helping to bring about the end of the world.

"It's tempting to see him for the laughable idiot he is but sadly there are many other idiots who will be inspired and encourage by his naive, juvenile bigotry. I am ashamed to work for the BBC when it lacks bravery to admit it is making a mistake."

Yesterday it was reported that the journalist had been "threatened with suspension" but today taking to Twitter he confirmed that he was suspended.

He tweeted: "I can't say more but, as of yesterday, I am suspended by the BBC pending investigation. I made my bed now I have time to lie in it."

Tyson Fury has been heavily criticised since a November interview with the Mail On Sunday in which he said: "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."

The heavyweight has also been accused of sexism after a YouTube video emerged of him saying Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill "slaps up good", before adding: "A woman's best place is in the kitchen and on her back - that's my personal belief."

The BBC has so far refused to remove Fury from the 12-person Sports Personality of the Year shortlist, with the winner of the award set to be announced on December 20.

A BBC spokeperson said: “We do not routinely comment on individual staff matters."

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