Well, ladies and gentlemen, and our wonderfully diverse non-binary crowd, brace yourselves for yet another thrilling instance of casually offensive tweets and a decidedly lukewarm corporate response. If, like me, you’ve been avidly tracking the meandering career of Martina Navratilova from tennis court champ to BBC Sports host, then her recent indiscretion on Twitter may not shock you quite as much. Yes, the audacity is outrageous, but the ignorance? Hardly a surprise.
Ms. Navratilova, in an astonishing display of insensitivity, thought it wise to express her glee over the tragic demise of a transgender mayor, who was a victim of the vilest of blackmail. Now, if this conduct doesn’t scream ‘sportsmanship,’ then what does, right? One may wonder if her transition into broadcasting has clipped her ability to land a proper serve or, in this case, a tactful tweet.
But, hold on; before you clasp your smarting palms to your shocked faces, let’s turn the tale onto the ‘quite heroic’ response from our one and only, age-old institution – the BBC. In an almost reminiscent fashion of many weak-willed declarations, it acknowledged this detestable act with a feeble “Thank you for contacting us” and a “We’ve addressed this.”
Wow. I can feel the tremors of that stern reprimanding from here.
Of course, don’t be misguided. The ‘addressing’ didn’t involve sacking or a suspension. No! Our ever-reliable management at BBC Sport had a chat with the ex-tennis star, and she has ‘acknowledged‘ that her promotion of such a horrendous act was inappropriate. Phew. Big moves, BBC. Big moves.
Yes, the BBC took on the monumental task of speaking to Navratilova about her deeply offensive tweet. And she admitted it wasn’t the most tactful of posts – hard to believe since she was practically gushing with kindness. Imagine our collective relief.
Indeed, this half-baked ten-second apology addresses an undercurrent of an evident, and painfully ironic, systemic intolerance at the heart of this massive media corporation. The fact that a public figure can openly spout such toxic views only to be met with a meek “let’s talk about this” reaction, rather leaves a bitter aftertaste.
In essence, this feeble response from the BBC, far from condemning Navratilova’s repugnant actions, only emboldens the notion that this renowned bastion of broadcasting is, in fact, institutionally transphobic.
It’s truly fascinating to live in a time where we constantly hear media corporations like the BBC advocate for change and inclusivity – as long as you overlook the glaring contradictions, of course.
So, thank you, BBC. Thank you for further legitimizing this unacceptable prejudice. Every time you fail to adequately address a hate crime like this, it’s another reminder that we still have a long way to go in this constant battle for basic human decency. But hey, at least, it provides plenty of material for sarcasm-focused bloggers like myself.