The BBC’s assistant political editor was forced to apologise live on air for his ‘sexist’ comment

Norman Smith and Theresa May
Emily Apple

The BBC‘s assistant political editor Norman Smith apologised live on air after he was accused of “sexism”. Speaking about Theresa May’s ongoing Brexit deal chaos, Smith stated:

You know, Mrs May is a tough old bird.

But less than half an hour later, Smith apologised for his “familiar” language:

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I described the prime minister as a bit of tough one earlier – apologies for that rather familiar language.

Everyday sexism

People on Twitter argued that Smith’s comment was nothing but ‘everyday sexism’:

And as others highlighted, it is very unlikely that a male leader would be described in this way:

Social media users also tweeted their objections directly to the BBC News Twitter account:

Not good enough

Calling a female political leader “a tough old bird” is not acceptable. And Smith’s apology does not go far enough. The language was not just “familiar” but downright sexist.

Following on just days after the BBC called out Andrew Neil for his appalling language over journalist Carole Cadwalladr, it’s time for our public broadcaster to admit it has a problem. More importantly, it’s time for it to take action.

Get Involved!

– Read the #everydaysexism hashtag and follow Everyday Sexism on Twitter.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

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