UK
12/06/2015 11:01 BST | Updated 15/06/2015 08:59 BST

Kay Burley's Alton Towers CEO Interview 'Vitriol' Is Sexist, Some Claim

UPDATE: Kay Burley Has Been Cleared By Ofcom Over THAT Alton Towers Interview

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..

Others were less convinced that this was sexism…

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.”

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