Balding has enough, PCC agree
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has upheld a complaint by lesbian TV presenter Clare Balding. Balding was offended by Sunday Times writer AA Gill referring to her a “dyke on a bike”. The article in question had appeared in the paper’s culture section on the 25th of July in a review of the BBC4 programme, Britain by Bike.
Bearing in mind the columnist in question started off the article with a fake apology for referring to her as a “big lesbian”, I can see why Balding decided to take action against him.
Some time ago, I made a cheap and frankly unnecessary joke about Clare Balding looking like a big lesbian. And afterwards somebody tugged my sleeve to point out that she is a big lesbian.
It is clear that her sexuality was not relevant to the TV show in question, so why refer to it on two occasions? After the publication of the article Balding wrote to Gill’s editor, what was his reply… wait for it….
In my view some members of the gay community need to stop regarding themselves as having a special victim status and behave like any other sensible group that is accepted by society. Not having a privileged status means, of course, one must accept occasionally being the butt of jokes. A person’s sexuality should not give them a protected status
Yes, you read that right. So well done to Clare for taking this to the PCC and well done to them for taking it seriously and upholding her complaint. They did not listen to The Sunday Times when they tried to say that “dyke” is a reclaimed word and therefore no longer offensive. It’s all about how you use words, and journalists should know that above all.
The PCC rightly ruled that
The context was not that the reviewer was seeking positively to ‘reclaim’ the term, but rather to use it to refer to the complainant’s sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way
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