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Women in Sport

03rd Aug 2023

BBC warn sports presenter after Barbie comment, live on air

Patrick McCarry


Viewers were left ‘speechless’ by the remark

The BBC is embroiled in another outrage, this time after a former Love Island contestant it hired as a cricket presenter called a female cricketer she looked like a “little Barbie”, live on air.

The broadcaster has warned Chris Hughes that his remark was “not appropriate”. The 30-year-old, hired by the BBC for its coverage of The Hundred tournament, has been slammed for the pitch-side comment he made to Australian all-rounder Maitlan Brown from the Southern Brave team

Explaining how the team had bonded ahead of the tournament, Brown, 26, said: “We watched Barbie the other night all together and it was really good team bonding and the group is gelling really well together.”

Hughes then replied: “You’re a little Barbie yourself, aren’t you, with your blue eyes.”

As Brown laughed, Hughes added: “She’s blushing now.”

Hughes, who appeared in the third season of ITV2’s Love Island in 2017, had been slammed on social media.

One commenter said she was left “speechless” by the remark and “cringing” for Brown.

‘His comment was not appropriate’ – BBC spokesperson

Cricket fans also called for Hughes to apologise.

One tweeted: “The absolute state of this BBC Sport. ‘Batsman’. You’re a bit of a Barbie yourself. So much great young journalistic cricket talent in the UK, and you hire that clown.’”

A BBC spokesperson said:

“We have spoken to Chris and explained that his comment was not appropriate.”

The story has echoes of an incident in the US this week where a radio presenter was sacked after calling a female sports reporter ‘Barbie girl’ and telling listeners that he mistook her for a cheerleader.

Don Geronimo said “I’m guessing she’s a cheerleader” when referring to Emmy-winning reporter Sharla McBride, and also called her a “chick.”

He has since been removed from his role at WBIG-FM. McBride had been reporting from the training camp of NFL side the Washington Commanders when Geronimo made the degrading comments.


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