TV presenter Eilidh Barbour was among guests who left Sunday’s Scottish Football Writers’ Association gala dinner in Glasgow because of a sexist speech made by a man at the event.
Barbour, who has worked as a broadcaster for the likes of BBC and Sky Sports, tweeted that she had “never felt so unwelcome in the industry” and stressed that there was still a lot of work to be done with regard to gender equality in football.
The controversy arose after a speaker, who apparently works professionally on the after-dinner speaking circuit, made a string of jokes that were deemed “sexist and racist” by members of the audience.
The SFWA has apologised to anyone who was “offended or upset” by the speech.
What has Barbour said?
Barbour was among two tables of guests who were so offended that they walked out of the dinner in protest.
Taking to Twitter, the presenter wrote: “Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards. A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place #callitout #equalgame.”
Never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in than sitting at the Scottish Football Writers Awards. A huge reminder there is still so much to do in making our game an equal place #callitout #equalgame— Eilidh Barbour 💙🤍 (@EilidhBarbour) May 8, 2022
Meanwhile, Gabriella Bennett, who was also at the awards dinner, echoed Barbour’s feelings.
“I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker,” she said. “My table walked out at the same time Eilidh’s did.”
I was at these awards tonight and sat through the same sexist and racist jokes made by a keynote speaker. My table walked out at the same time Eilidh’s did https://t.co/aEAV4VqLtn— Gabriella Bennett (@palebackwriter) May 8, 2022
The journalist and author expanded on this when speaking with BBC Radio Scotland.
“I walked out after about five minutes of maybe a 20-minute speech, and within those five minutes it was rammed with sexist jokes.
“My table stood up to leave and I saw Eilidh Barbour and people on her table stand up to leave – but it’s also worth pointing out there were lots of people laughing at these jokes.
“We were two tables in an enormous room and lots of people found it really funny.”
Others offer support to Barbour
Barbour’s tweet has received more than 11,000 likes so far and many have supported her calls for making the game an equal place.
Hannah Bardell, a Member of Parliament for the Livingston constituency wrote: “Huge respect to @EilidhBarbour for taking a stand and calling it out. So sad that we still have so far to go.”
Similarly, Telegraph reporter Fiona Tomas said: “And they wonder why there aren’t more of us…sigh. Thank you @EilidhBarbour for writing this.”
Journalist Suzanne McLaughlin also came to Barbour’s support: “Solidarity with Eilidh,” she stressed. “Never ever acceptable. #callitout.”