British Culture Secretary Maria Miller writes a letter to the BBC’s Director-General Lord Anthony Hall objecting the comments made by commentator John Inverdale about Marion Bartoli’s physical appearance prior to the Wimbledon final:
“I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14, maybe: ‘Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a Sharapova, you’re never going to be five feet 11 inches tall, you’re never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that. You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it.’ And she kind of is.”
Inverdale later apologized to Bartoli and said his comments were misconstrued.
In her letter, Miller said: “It is a matter of some concern to me that any comment on the looks and stature of a female athlete could be made in the context of one of the highlights of the UK’s, and indeed the world’s, sporting calendar. I am sure you will agree with me that it is vital that young women and girls in this country feel motivated both to take part in and to watch coverage of sport, and to know that they are included in the enjoyment of sport, and catered for by the media just as much as the male audience.”
Miller also demanded updates on further action “that is likely to be taken” over the comments.