Posted : 2011-12-31 19:26
Updated : 2011-12-31 19:26

BBC in hot water over ’pandagate’ sexism row

It was intended as a lighthearted addition to an otherwise serious list of women who made the headlines in 2011. But the BBC's inclusion of a panda in its "faces of the year" has kicked up a storm.

In a media row dubbed "Pandagate" by users of Twitter, the broadcaster has included Tian Tian (Sweetie), one of two pandas who arrived at a Scottish zoo earlier this month, as its female "face" for December in an online feature.

The hairy giant is named alongside women such as U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived being shot in the head during a meeting with voters, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Kate Middleton's sister Pippa.

Opposition Labor lawmaker Stella Creasy was among those who criticized the BBC's decision, saying that despite its light-hearted tone, the list caused concern because it appeared to be part of a trend.

Last month, the BBC came under fire for failing to include any women in the 10-strong shortlist for its prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award.

"These lists aren't meant to be serious but coming so soon after the lack of women from their Sports Personality of the Year award it does seem as if the BBC hasn't noticed the wide and varied contribution women make to public life," Creasy said in a statement.

"Whilst we all love a good panda story, in a year when Christine Lagarde became head of the IMF, or Helle Thorning-Schmidt became prime minister of Denmark or even the sad death of Amy Winehouse, it's frustrating the BBC couldn't think of 12 human female faces who have made the news this year."

The BBC said this was not the first time an animal had made the list.

"Including Sweetie as one of the annual headline makers was a light-hearted addition to the list, and this isn't the first time it has featured a non-human," a spokeswoman said.

"In 2009, Benson the Carp, a much-caught giant fish, was August's entry on the male list and last year Peppa the Pig (a popular cartoon character) was on the female list for April." (London=AFP)
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BBC, 올해 여성 12인에 판다 선정, 논란

영국BBC방송이'2011년 화제의 여성 12인' 가운데 판다 '스위티'를 선정해 논란이 커지고 있다.

중국이 영국 동물원에 대여한 암컷 판다 '스위티(중국명 톈톈)'가 BBC방송의 '올해 화제의 여성 12인' 가운데 12월의 여성으로 꼽혀 소셜네트워킹사이트(SNS)를 통해 논란이 일고 있다고 영국 텔레그라프가 28일(현지시간) 보도했다.

BBC방송은 이날 "스위티를 중국 쓰촨성에서 영국 에딘버러 동물원으로 데려올 수 있었던 것은 영국이 중국과 5년간 벌인 협상의 결과"라며 선정 이유를 밝혔다.

에딘버러 동물원은 스위티와 그의 짝꿍 '선샤인'을 10년간 대여하는 데에 100만달러(약 11억원)을 지불한다.

텔레그라프에 따르면 SNS 이용자들은 스위티 선정을 놓고 '판다게이트'라고 칭하며 황당하다는 반응이다.

한 시민은 트위터를 통해 "BBC가 스포츠 분야에서 올해의 여성을 찾지 못한 것 같다"고 말했다. 영국 노동당의 스텔라 크레이시 의원은 "올해의 여성이 아니라 암컷동물이라는 단서를 달었어야 했다"고 전했다.

이같은 비난에 BBC방송은 "이전에 인간이 아니어도 선정된 적이 있었다"며 "지난해 역시 만화 캐릭터가 명단에 포함됐다"고 반박했다.

스위티 이외에도 총격에서 구사일생으로 살아난 가브리엘 기퍼즈 미 하원(1월), 리비아에서 정부군에 성폭행을 당했다고 주장한 에만 알 오베이디(3월), 도미니크 스트로스칸 전(前) 국제통화기금(IMF) 총재로부터 성추행을 당했다고 주장한 호텔 여종업원 나피사투 디알로(5월), 모로코 국왕과 결혼한 샬렌 위트스톡(7월), 지우마 호세프 브라질 대통령(9월) 등이 BBC방송 선정 '올해의 여성 12인' 리스트에 이름을 올렸다.

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