Olympics commentator suspended for hurling homophobic, misogynistic insults at athletes
Belgium’s public broadcaster suspended a sports commentator who made homophobic and misogynistic comments about the women’s national basketball team.
Eddy Demarez was reprimanded by VRT after insulting the team during a Facebook Live as they were returning from the Tokyo Olympics.
During the broadcast he called one of the women “manly” and claimed that all the players are gay except for one.
There was a social media uproar about the comments, and Demarez released a statement of apology in response via VRT. He claimed that he was overexcited by the athletes coming back from Tokyo, which is what spurred on his comments.
VRT have since suspended him from on-air coverage and the Belgian basketball federation are calling for his resignation.
Emma Meesseman, one of the athletes he attacked, tweeted in Dutch: “Can I just really really not have it for awhile? Thanks.”
Kim Mestdagh posted a puking emoji and tagged Demarez’ employer, while Hanne Mestdagh wrote: “Disrepectful, painful and demeaning. So great to be back home.”
The Belgian basketball federation is also considering further legal action and has asked for VRT to fire Demarez if he refuses to reign voluntarily.
The commentator has offered to apologise to the team via Zoom call, but the team have declined.
In the federation’s statement, Meesseman wrote: “We worked towards this moment for years, we sacrificed everything and gave everything we had.”
“Our dream has become reality but we wished for more. We know that fans are proud, and now we’ll try to be proud of ourselves, on the road we have all traveled together.”
“Physically, but especially mentally, we were empty when we arrived in Zaventem. Mr. Demarez‘s disrespectful and hurtful words were a heavy blow that we just can’t take at the moment and they’ll be a stain on the peak of our careers.”
“Fortunately, we are strong together as a team and fans. This is one of many examples of why we will continue to be committed to equality.”
“A new generation is coming, with the right values and with respect for each other!”