Anger grows at BBC honour for anti-gay boxer

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury

Calls are growing for the BBC to remove an openly homophobic boxer from its shortlist of candidates for Sports Personality of the Year 2015.

British professional boxer Tyson Fury, who recently became the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO and The Ring magazine unified heavyweight champion, has been slammed for his anti-gay comments.

Most recently, he told the Mail on Sunday that acceptance of homosexuality would lead to the apocalypse: “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 is paedophilia.”

He added: “For me, people can say ‘oh, you’re against abortions and you’re against paedophilia, you’re against homosexuality, you’re against whatever’ but my faith and my culture is all based on the Bible.”

In response to anger at the naming of Fury as a nominee in its Sports Personality of the Year award, the BBC said in a statement that the shortlist was based solely on the finalists’ “sporting achievements.”

It explained that, “as Fury became heavyweight champion of the world over the weekend, the panel feel that he should be a contender for this year’s award.”

Chris Bryant, the Labour Party Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, joined the fray by calling the boxer’s comments “profoundly offensive” and “the kind of language that leads to more young people committing suicide.”

An online petition urging the BBC to remove the athlete from the list has now garnered almost 35,000 signatures.

“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,” wrote the petition’s creator, Scott Cuthbertson.

“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,” he said.

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