As thousands of people sign a petition urging Sky News to sack Kay Burley over a recent interview, some have questioned whether the reaction would have been quite so vehement had it been a male presenter carrying out the same line of questioning.
Many suggested that had a personality such as Jeremy Paxman conducted the interview with the chief executive of the company that owns Alton Towers, fewer people would have been outraged..
Cannot believe the outrage about Kay Burley's interview. People were seriously injured on that ride, had it been Paxman, we'd be lauding it.— Eric (@EricCunha94) June 12, 2015
Just watched the @KayBurley Alton Towers interview. It was appauling, but I don't think it was any worse than most of Paxman's interviews.— Jeremy Taylor (@JezTaylorUK) June 12, 2015
@LucyCMorgan It is sexism, plain and simple.— Kathryn Gray (@KathrynGray) June 12, 2015
@KayBurley people are entitled to their various opinions but a lot of criticism directed at female presenters stems from gender inequality— Ms Caroline Hill (@chillmedia) June 7, 2015
I'm on Kay Burley's side here. When a man, say Jeremy Paxman, does an interview in the way she did, he gets praised as a hero.— Kay Bourne (@RatingHyperion) June 12, 2015
Others were less convinced that this was sexism…
its not sexism against strong women. Kay Burley was ignorant to his answers and thus bullied him throughout the interview— A Tidy Little Mess.. (@KilljoySilence) June 11, 2015
Burley herself tweeted a blog written by Abi Wilkinson for The Debrief in which Wilkinson said: "Nick Varney is a powerful man with ultimate responsibility for everything that happens at Merlin Entertainment theme parks, including when things go wrong. He agreed to be interviewed on Sky News with one goal: casting himself and the company in as positive a light as possible.
"The interviewer’s job is to ask challenging questions and avoid letting him use the appearance as a straight forward PR opportunity.
"If it had been Jeremy Paxman sat there, holding Varney to account, I’m certain that people would have understood the need for a tough approach. The veteran broadcaster is regularly praised for using the same techniques that have made Burley a target of hate."
A petition to urging Sky News to sack Burley following the cringe-inducing interview with the CEO of the company which owns Alton Towers has received over 33,000 signatures.
Ofcom has so far received 1,485 complaints over the interview, which saw Nick Varney grilled by the Sky News anchor over a rollercoaster crash at the theme park which left four seriously injured, one of whom had her leg amputated.
Burley pressed the Merlin Entertainments chief over what were at the time unconfirmed reports that one victim had lost a limb, as well as pushing him for an answer on whether he thought the safety measures in place were adequate.
Varney went on to accuse Burley of misrepresenting what he was saying and putting words in his mouth.
Burley herself defended the interview, tweeting: “For those concerned I was hard on Alton Towers boss, he'll get over it. Not sure those on his ride will be so quick to recover #perspective.”
For those concerned I was hard on Alton Towers boss, he'll get over it. Not sure those on his ride will be so quick to recover #perspective— Kay Burley (@KayBurley) June 5, 2015