Scottish football writers’ body sorry as ‘next-level’ sexist jokes prompt walk-out | Soccer

The Scottish Football Writers’ Association has apologized after a speaker’s sexist and misogynistic jokes prompted attendees to walk out of its annual awards dinner.

Eilidh Barbour, a presenter for the BBC, Sky Sports and Amazon Prime, tweeted that she had “never felt so unwelcome in the industry I work in” following the event on Sunday.

The backlash to comments made at the dinner by former lawyer Bill Copeland, at which Sir Alex Ferguson also received a lifetime achievement award, has led to the body apologizing “to anyone offended or upset” and pledging to review its format.

“We have unanimously agreed that this will act as a catalyst to review and improve the format of our future events to make it an enjoyable and inspirational event for all,” a statement said.

Gabriella Bennett, the co-chair of Women in Journalism Scotland, told BBC Radio Scotland: “I really enjoy it as an event, but there are always off-colour jokes made by the speakers … sexist or misogynistic. But last night’s speech was really next level. I walked out after about five minutes of maybe a 20-minute speech.

“My table stood up to leave, and I saw Eilidh Barbour and people on her table start to leave. But there were loads of people laughing at these jokes. We were two tables in an enormous room and lots of people found it really funny, so there’s lots of work that we still need to do in really changing people’s minds about what’s acceptable. I’m no longer shocked or surprised by these kinds of offensive remarks masquerading as banter but I am sickened by normalizing this kind of thing. It’s incredibly insidious. It’s really damaging for women trying to be respected. It allows men to speak to women in a certain way in a professional situation.”

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Copeland has been approached for a comment. A speakers’ agency that represents him said Copeland stood by the SFWA’s statement. It added: “The Scottish Football Writers’ Association apologises to anyone offended or upset by material from one of our after-dinner speakers at the annual awards dinner. ”

In a joint statement, the equality campaign groups Kick It Out and Women in Football said: “The fact we have been made aware by those in attendance that they felt unwelcome in an industry they work in is unacceptable, and we stand with them.”

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