Poor Chris Gayle has become the latest sacrificial lamb for social justice warriors.
The cricketer, described as “the greatest West Indian player of his generation”, was being interviewed by an attractive female presenter – wait, can I say that? - when he decided to take a chance on love. In an impulsive moment he asked her for a drink, and, as it became obvious she wasn’t interested in said drink, he quickly added, “Don’t blush, baby.”
Had you read about this moment in the news, you would have expected to see something far juicier from the footage. Across the Twittersphere, a load of humourless people condoned Gayle as “pathetic” and “disrespectful”. Someone even called his failed romantic attempt sexual harassment.
Having watched the video, I felt pretty let down with the hype; it was like Star Wars all over again. The clip is – after all - 16 seconds of nothing. In fact, it almost makes me feel sorry for Gayle. Clearly bowled over by the interviewer’s beauty, he splutters the invitation out like a nervous schoolboy. And as she frowns at him, and he responds “Don’t blush, baby”, you sense that it’s actually him who’s shrivelling up inside.
It makes me want to give him a big hug, and gently say: “Don’t worry, Chris, there’s plenty more fish in the sea!”
Anyway, my condolences hardly matter because Gayle has thrown a huge metaphorical cricket ball at the moralist mob. Let’s face it, they were probably bored over Christmas, with nothing but Downton Abbey and the Strictly Come Dancing final to whinge about. Now they have fresh meat to chew over in the shape of a not-all-that-clever sports star: the new poster boy for sexism.
But, come on, we all know that asking someone on a date is not a crime – otherwise there’d be no such thing as procreation. Equally, calling someone “baby” is not sexual harassment. Bloody hell, has anyone ever been to Leeds? You can’t get on a bus without someone calling you “love”, and they all seem pretty happy.
Daytime TV controversies
Daytime TV controversies
1/14 Eamonn Holmes caught making 'V-sign' at cameraman during This Morning
This Morning viewers were faced with Eamonn Holmes apparently flicking the V-sign at a cameraman during a live broadcast. The presenter was left red faced when his gesture was accidentally captured during a segment about infidelity and quickly caught the attention of Twitter users. Explaining the mistake, Holmes said it was a symbol used to ask producers to switch cameras and blamed the accident on the way the interview was filmed.
2/14 Bill Turnbull drops c-bomb on live TV
The BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull had viewers spitting out their cornflakes this morning after swearing on live TV. Turnbull made the gaffe whilst reading out an email from a viewer, which was meant to read “He was meant to say: ‘I regularly speak to clients about illness and pass the knowledge onto other clients as well.” Instead the 59-year-old TV personality, who was educated at Eton College, fluffed his lines, accidently saying that he regularly passes knowledge onto other ‘c***s’ as well.
3/14 This Morning turns Fifty Shades of Grey
To tie-in (literally) with the release of a certain BDSM-themed blockbuster, This Morning presented a 'Bondage for Beginners' segment featuring feathers, blindfolds, sexy lingerie and not a lot else besides. Ofcom received more than 120 complaints before clearing the item.
4/14 This Morning airs bare breasts for cancer awareness
This Morning aired a segment teaching people how to perform breast cancer checks. Many viewers tuned in to see a topless woman on their tellys but fortunately most praised the show for dealing with an important issue.
5/14 Jeremy Kyle gives audience strict telling-off
Kyle was forced to defend a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show when the audience laughed at his story of male domestic violence.
6/14 The One Show receives 400 complaints over Rita Ora's revealing outfit
The BBC was forced to apologise after the singer put her cleavage on show pre-watershed
7/14 Paul Ross undergoes rectal examination live on air
Similar to the breast cancer checks, the presenter agreed to have the procedure live on telly to raise awareness.
8/14 Katie Hopkins goes on This Morning to prove how lazy fat people really are
The rent-a-gob put on 11 pounds and planned to lose it all to prove how easy it is for overweight people to lose weight
9/14 BBC Breakfast apologises after accidentally broadcasting penis drawn on Prince William's head
The image was broadcast as part of a segment that had absolutely nothing to do with Prince William or penises
10/14 Katie Hopkins begins her reign as national hate figure on This Morning
The Apprentice star infamously claimed she would never allow her children to play with other kids 'with names like Tyler and Charmaine'
11/14 Susanna Reid flirts outrageously with Alex Turner
The then BBC Breakfast presenter actually said 'I bet you look good on the dance floor'
12/14 Judy Finnigan forced to apologise after Ched Evans claims on Loose Women
The TV presenter said the rape 'was not aggressive'
13/14 Snake poos on dining table during Come Dine With Me
Just as dessert was being brought out
14/14 Countown goes up in our estimation
Presenter Rachel Riley worked hard to keep a straight face as two contestants on the show came up with the eight-letter solution 'erection' in the word game. Host Nick Hewer was not quite so controlled and got the giggles.
Describing Gayle as sexist is even more ridiculous given the ease with which female sport stars flirt. In January 2014, Maria Sharapova took a shine to an Australian presenter, saying to him on television: “You have so much good self-esteem when you speak, it’s really nice”, before adding, “I was just admiring your form”.
Even though “You have so much good self esteem” makes her sound like Borat, you don’t hear her being ticked off for sexual harassment – which, I’d like to add, is a very serious offence.
Gayle has been hounded by commentators, who have accused him of using his social entitlement as a male to prey on presenters – but women get away with complimenting men all the time. If anyone’s milking their social entitlement in the flirtation stakes this time around, it’s women.
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