Long-time British golf commentator Peter Alliss has gotten into trouble for problematic comments before, and he’s now in hot water again. In 2002, Alliss described Japanese golfer Shigeki Maruyama as “the wily Oriental.” In 2015, he sparked three separate controversies, saying “perhaps he likes older women” about Irish amateur Paul Dunne hugging his mother, saying Zach Johnson’s wife was “probably thinking ‘if this goes in I get a new kitchen,'” and saying Christina Kim was ‘built for comfort, not speed.” Now, the 86-year-old Alliss is taking criticism again for an on-air comment during the BBC’s Masters broadcast Sunday that Angela Akins, Sergio Garcia’s fiancée, had “the shortest skirt on the campus.” Here’s the clip:
According to The Sun, “the BBC confirmed Alliss believed he was off air when he made the ‘light-hearted’ comment and accepts it was ‘inappropriate.'” But this still isn’t going over well, and it’s yet one more mishap for the 86-year-old Alliss. He created some more drama this month with comments to Newsweek‘s Tom Roddy as part of a profile:
“No matter how you wrap it up, women will never be able to do things that men can do,” he says, when asked what he meant by claiming that equal rights in golf was “causing mayhem.” “If we want to be equal, are you going to get a woman fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world [in] boxing? Are you? Could you? If you want perfect equality. I don’t like to see women punching each other in the chest. I don’t like it. I think it will cause irreparable damage. They talk about footballers heading balls but punching each other in the breasts for six minutes doesn’t seem a sensible thing to do. There’s certain things that women do that we can’t do, as far as I’m concerned.”
…“Those are my views,” he says. “I think women are more delicate than men. I like holding chairs for women. I enjoy the company of women. I don’t want to be bullied by them. I don’t care for macho women, I don’t care for them very much. And yet they’re prevalent today, and very prevalent in some cases. And very forward.”
Those are some pretty terrible comments (and ignorant; is Alliss really unaware of the existence and success of female boxers like Ireland’s Katie Taylor?). The other ones in that profile are bad too, about how Scotland’s Muirfeld Golf Club shouldn’t have accepted female members (because there are women’s-only clubs elsewhere, and because the wives of members could attend) and about how “there are certain things” women can’t do.
Alliss seems to be generally well-liked in Britain, and he’s received plenty of praise for his broadcasting career (including a World Golf Hall of Fame induction in 2012, where the above picture comes from), but his insistence on throwing out sexist comments certainly isn’t a good look for the BBC (especially considering how they’re simultaneously trying to defend their female reporters against sexist rants and verbal abuse from soccer managers). He talks in the Newsweek profile about contemplating retirement, and says “I’ll go before I’m pushed.” Perhaps that time should be soon.