BBC chief defends Tyson Fury award nomination despite homophobia

The Director-General of the BBC has defended the nomination of anti-gay boxer Tyson Fury for the broadcaster’s Sports Personality of the Year award.

Heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury is up for the ‘personality’ award on Sunday – despite claiming that homosexuality and paedophilia will bring about the apocalypse.

The boxer has simultaneously stood by his comments and denied being homophobic – while also claiming that sex with children was legalised by a fictional ‘Gay Rights Act 1977‘.

After the BBC refused to rescind the boxer’s nomination, a number of LGBT groups are planning to protest outside the awards in Belfast on Sunday.

The BBC’s Director-General Lord Hall was grilled by MPs today – but refused to concede that the nomination had been a mistake.

Quizzed by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Lord Hall insisted: “One of the things that is key to the BBC is we are impartial and it should be a place where people’s views are heard and there should be a range of opinions in all things.

“I trust our viewers, our listeners, our voters to make sense of what is going on.”

He was repeatedly challenged by MPs who questioned whether the BBC had done enough to distance itself, the exec said: “In terms of the policies that we promote, the BBC is completely at odds with what Tyson Fury has said.”

The SNP’s John Nicolson had biting words for the BBC boss, saying: “Tyson Fury has been given carte blanche to say and do anything he likes and at no point will you intervene and say this is so distasteful and so wrong.

“I don’t think he will win, but that is not the point. You have got yourself into a bit of a muddle and you don’t know how to get out of it.

“What do you think women and gay kids watching this will think? That the BBC allowed him to go up on a pedestal?”

Lord Hall insisted: “I don’t think we are in a muddle over this. We have been clear throughout. The panel has made the nomination and the British public will decide next weekend.

“I hope they will vote and make their views known.”

He added: “The fact that we have had and are having a debate about what is proper behaviour or what is improper behaviour is good actually.

“It’s for people to judge when they vote whether he is the right person to become Sports Personality of the Year.

“I believe in the process. Twelve names have been put up there and the British public will make a judgement on Sunday. I trust the British people to make their views clear.”