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The whole Andy Gray/Sexism debate (or Graysexgate) was rather passing me by. That was until this evening when my girlfriend asked me whether I thought Sky Sports were right to sack him. My senses were immediately heightened. This was a test wasn't it? I needed to give her the answer she wanted to hear. If I didn't I would be making my own dinner. Then I realised I'd be making my own dinner anyway as my girlfriend was going out, so I gave her my honest answer. And it goes something like this.

I'm not sure. What Gray and co-presenter Richard Keys said was stupid and I don't for one moment agree with them, but we all say stupid things don't we? We all say things we don't mean and we all say things we later regret. Purely on that basis I would say it was not a sackable offence. As I write there is apparently new evidence of Gray making sexist comments. It is these that have apparently led to his sacking. If it is true that he has made sexist comments before then it is right that he should be sacked. For two reasons. (Which is a shame really. If I had another five I could have turned this into a post for 7 Reasons and killed two birds with one stone*). The first reason is that Gray clearly doesn't learn from his previous mistakes. Not only is one forced to question his judgement but also whether he, in fact, does have a sexist streak. The other reason, though, is really the crux of this matter. It's how these comments were made, but more importantly, the environment they were made in.

Now, Jo Brand isn't my cup of tea. Her routine, whether it be on stage or sat behind a desk on a panel show, revolves around men. And more precisely the putting-down of the male species. Are some of her comments sexist? Yes. When you analyse it, most of them are. From a male point of view I have no problem with this. It's not her sexist comments that don't amuse me, it's the fact that I find her routine tired and predictable. But she is very popular as her winning of the 'Best Female TV comic' at last Saturday's British Comedy Awards goes to show. The only complaint people in forums and on the comment pages of the likes of Sky News had was that she wasn't funny. Not one person commented that she was sexist.

I wonder, therefore, if there would have been any reaction at all if Andy Gray had made the comments he did while appearing next to Stephen Fry on QI? Given his (former) occupation as a football pundit, then maybe. So let's change what he said slightly. Not so we lose the gist of what he said, but just so we move it away from football. Let's suppose Gray had suggested a woman could never be a bus driver because she has no sense of direction and can't read a map. Would that have been picked up as sexist and led to his sacking as both a QI and Sky Sports pundit? I am willing to bet that it would not.

This all leads me to conclude that we, as a nation, are happy with sexism so long as it is in the right environment. I am not sure that sits comfortably with me. The uproar on the likes of twitter over what Gray and Keys said, suggest many, many found it offensive. There are some very strong opinions out there. Can I find an equally strong comment about sexism from the likes of Brand? Based on the strength of the complaints about Gray and Keys such a comment would be that television corporations are effectively paying the likes of Jo Brand, the Loose Women, Lee Evans and Jimmy Carr to make sexist remarks. Can I find something like that? No, of course I can't. In fact, I find no comments calling them sexist at all. While I can understand why this is the case, I can't help but feel it is ever so slightly hypocritical of us. Racism doesn't stop being racism in certain environments so surely sexism shouldn't stop being sexism?

Or am I just being too idealistic?

*This is not a sexist comment.

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1 comment:

  1. I think it hilarious that one of the few people to stick up for him was ex-Apprentice loser, Katy Hodges! And on Question Time no less!

    I bet Grey and his fellow scapegoat were sitting at home thinking, "Please Katy, just do us a favour and shut up now! I think we are in enough of a mess already without you making us look worse!"

    It's like calling Stevie Wonder as an eye witness surely?