UK

Tyson Fury: BBC Journalist Andy West Suspended For Criticising Sports Personality Of The Year Nomination

10/12/2015 16:33 GMT | Updated 10/12/2015 17:59 GMT

A BBC journalist has been suspended after saying that he was "ashamed" of his employer for including Tyson Fury in the shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year.

On Thursday, Andy West announced on Twitter that he had been suspended from the corporation pending an investigation.

West, who was employed at BBC Northern Ireland, said that he was prepared to deal with the consequences following comments he reportedly made about the BBC lacking the "bravery to admit it is making a mistake".

Despite growing criticism being levelled at Fury after he put homosexuality in the same category as paedophilia, Fury maintains that he is "not a homophobe".

Speaking to Sky News on Thursday (see video below), Fury said: "I ain't a homophobe, I ain't a bigot, I ain't a racist and I definitely ain't a sexist."

Tyson Fury's comments on homosexuality:

"There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home. One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other is paedophilia. Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?"

"Homosexuality, abortion and paedophilia - them three things need to be accomplished before the world finishes. That's what the Bible tells me."

Despite the boxer's protestations that he is just doing "what the Bible tells" him, the inclusion of Fury in the BBC shortlist has upset many people.

In an online post, West wrote: "My employer is hurting me and other gay people by celebrating someone who considers me no better than a paedophile and who believes homosexual people are helping to bring about the end of the world.

"It’s tempting to see him for the laughable idiot he is but sadly there are many other idiots who will be inspired and encourage by his naive, juvenile bigotry. I am ashamed to work for the BBC when it lacks bravery to admit it is making a mistake."

The reactions that West has received have been overwhelmingly positive, with many "proud" people congratulating him for his bravery.

The World Heavyweight champion has been severely criticised in past few days following comments he made about homosexuality, in which he likened it to abortion.

Many have lambasted the BBC's decision to include the 27-year-old in the list of nominees for the annual Sports Personality of the Year award.

A petition calling for the corporation to remove "homophobic" Fury from the shortlist has garnered more than 130,000 signatures.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We do not routinely comment on individual staff matters."

West is not the first BBC employee to make a snide remark about Fury's nomination.

BBC News presenter Clive Myrie suggested that British boxing champion was “a dickhead” over his remarks about homosexuals and women.

During a discussion on BBC News Channel’s The Papers on Monday night, the veteran newsman said “you cannot be a dickhead and win Sports Personality of The Year”.

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