The BBC is facing a backlash over the decision to include homophobic heavyweight champion Tyson Fury among the twelve people on their shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Fury gave a bizarre interview with The Mail on Sunday earlier this month, in which he explained that the Bible tells him “the end is near” – largely due to society’s permissive attitudes towards homosexuality.
“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. Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?” he said.
“When I say paedophiles could be made legal, it sounds crazy. But if I had said to you about the first two being made legal in the 50s, I would have been looked upon as a crazy man.”
When interviewer Oliver Holt suggested that people might not agree with his views, Fury said, “People can say, ‘You are against abortions, you are against paedophilia, you are against homosexuality’, but my faith and my culture is based on the Bible.”
The boxer has also previously been fined for British Board of Boxing Control for making homophobic tweets and describing fellow boxers as “100% homosexual”. He has been criticised for these comments by Shadow Cabinet Minister Chris Bryant, who said “his aggressive style of foul homophobia is precisely the kind that leads to young gay suicides”.
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year award will be decided by public vote, and announced on December 20. Those joining Fury on the shortlist include F1’s Lewis Hamilton, swimmer Adam Peaty, and athletes Jessica Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford.
“The nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year are decided on their sporting achievements,” a BBC Spokesperson told Attitude today.
“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.”
However a Change.org petition has been set up, “demanding that the BBC reconsider their actions by removing Tyson Fury from the shortlist.”
“Whilst he has made a considerable sporting achievement his views have no place in a modern tolerant Britain in 2015,” the petition states.