Frostrup regrets misogynists slur over Today

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The Independent Online

Broadcaster Mariella Frostrup said today she regrets calling the team behind Radio 4's Today programme "misogynists" - and said it was based on "no factual evidence".

The presenter had been critical of the producers of the station's flagship morning news show in an interview for The Lady magazine.

But in a letter to the BBC's in-house newspaper Ariel this week, she claimed she had been "careless" with her choice of words.

And Frostrup said Today editor Ceri Thomas and his colleagues were not "demons".

Her comments came after Thomas gave an interview earlier this year to Radio 4's Feedback programme in which he was asked why there was only one female Today host, Sarah Montague. His response was interpreted as suggesting female presenters were not thick-skinned enough.

In her letter, Frostrup - who presents Radio 4's Open Book - said: "As a woman who deals primarily in words for a living, my choice of one in particular was careless when last week, in an interview, I described the producers of the Today programme as "misogynists".

"It was an inflammatory choice, based on no factual evidence and it did nothing to further necessary discussion about the absence of mature women in key broadcasting positions and as role models in public life generally.

"Ceri Thomas and his team are obviously not the demons in this debate and I regret making them seem so. I love the Today programme, wake up to it every morning and think the presenters all do an excellent job, male and female. I won't stop saying that the BBC needs to enhance its representation of women on screen and on air but I will certainly refrain from pointing my finger at innocent parties in future."

During his Feedback interview in March, Thomas had said the gender mix on Today was "not ideal".

Discussing why there were more women on the BBC News channel than Today, he said: "Because I think those are slightly easier jobs.

"They are difficult jobs but the skillset that you need to work on the Today programme and the hide that you need, the thickness of that, is something else."