John Inverdale
John Inverdale: the perfect face for radio?

Twitter has erupted in fury after BBC commentator John Inverdale made a crass, sexist comment on air about Wimbledon women's champion Marion Bartoli.

Inverdale quipped to thousands of listeners on BBC Radio 5 Live, "Do you think Bartoli's dad told her when she was little: 'You're never going to be a looker, you'll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight'?"

In the wake of his barb, Inverdale faced calls for his resignation or dismissal.

Other Twitter users took a more relaxed view of the incident, with one saying Inverdale has "the perfect face for radio".

Iverdale's tasteless gag forced the BBC to issue an apology. A spokesman said: "We accept this was insensitive and for that we apologise."

Marion Bartoli
Marion Bartoli

But the woman whose looks kicked off the storm insisted she did not care that Inverdale did not find her attractive.

"It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes. And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it.

"I am sure I will be able to watch the DVD of the match over and over again and look at the picture of me when I am holding the trophy in my arms. That is the most important thing to me and not what I can do outside of the court."

IBTimes UK reader Ann Wright said IIverdale's slur contributed to climate of sexism which harmed young girls:

She said: "The BBC should sack John Inverdale. Impressionable young girls are growing up all over the country with parents trying to ensure modern day sexism is no part of their young lives.

The BBC should not be enforcing the celebrity stereotype that all girls must look a particular way. Sexulisation of young girls begins with such remarks and must be stamped on from a great height.

"The BBC has such power and must act now - sack Inverdale and anyone else you shows such shameful disregard for young and vunerable girls."