Sports presenter Clare Balding’s official complaint over an article in the Sunday Times that mocked her sexuality has been upheld.
In July, she complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) over AA Gill’s review of her new TV show [Britain by bike], in which he called her a “dyke on a bike”.
One part of the newspaper’s defense is interesting– they claimed that ‘dyke’ had been reclaimed and so was no longer offensive, drawing attention to lesbian motorcycle clubs called “Dykes on Bikes”. The Press Complaints Commission was nuanced enough to recognise that reclamation in some contexts does not make a term inoffensive in all contexts:
The context was “not that the reviewer was seeking positively to ‘reclaim’ the term, but rather to use it to refer to the complainant’s sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way”. As such, it represented a breach of the Code.