Fox Sports reporter issues grovelling apology after being sacked over homophobic WhatsApp messages
Australian Fox Sports reporter Tom Morris has issued a grovelling apology after the network sacked him for a string of sexist, racist and homophobic comments.
Leaked messages from a private WhatsApp group heaved around social media on Thursday (17 March), which allegedly saw the senior Australian Football League (AFL) and cricket reporter berate a lesbian colleague about her sexuality.
According to the Daily Mail, in a separate message understood to have been recorded last year, Morris wrote: “To the lads on tier four, I’m not Asian, I’m not Black, I’m not a woman, I’m not gay. So don’t treat me like s**t.
“I’m a man with a heart and I’ve got feelings.”
Fox Sports executive director Steve Crawley said the remarks were “unacceptable” and that network has a “zero tolerance” policy, The Guardian reported.
The sports journalist was sacked Friday after an internal investigation by the network – which holds broadcast rights for AFL, cricket and National Rugby League matches – concluded he “crossed a line”.
Shortly after his departure became public, Morris issued a conciliatory apology on Twitter Friday.
“I would like to unconditionally apologise to everyone for my disgusting and disgraceful comments, which became public yesterday,” Morris tweeted in a statement.
— Tom Morris (@tommorris32) March 18, 2022
“I am especially sorry to the person involved. No one should ever, in any place, or at any time, be spoken about in that way.
“I am deeply ashamed at my behaviour. My comments were hurtful to many and I will now take the time to listen, learn and work to improve myself, ensuring that I become a better person. I am truly sorry to everyone.”
Fox Sports is based on an ‘inclusive environment’. One not with Tom Morris
But to Crawley, this apology was too little, too late. “The bottom line is we are committed to a work environment where everyone can come to work in the knowledge they are safe, respected and valued,” he said.
“Our culture at Fox Sports is based on respectful, inclusive environment and a fair go for all.
“While Tom’s journalism has been a valuable contribution to Fox Sports over the past seven years, the message we became aware of yesterday crossed the line. It was unacceptable.”
Morris’ abrupt departure came just days after Morris was dubbed a “gutter journalist” by Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge.
At a press conference Wednesday night, Beveridge berated Morris for some three minutes before storming out, saying he has been “preying on us and causing turmoil”.
Luke Beveridge 😳 pic.twitter.com/Yxj86Z5y4i
— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 16, 2022