BBC forced to apologise after presenter Michael Buerk criticises Ched Evans’ rape victim for being drunk the night he attacked her
- BBC apologises after Michael Buerk said that the victim deserved no ‘credit’ and ‘could barely stand’
- He was trailing Moral Maze, which will discuss Evans’ return to football
- Said: ‘Nobody comes out of the Ched Evans rape case with any credit – not the victim… nor the two footballers who had sex with her
- Rape charities say his remarks are ‘deeply offensive’ to victim and others
Anger: Rape charities and BBC listeners have complained after Michael Buerk criticised Ched Evans’ rape victim for being drunk
The BBC apologised today after presenter Michael Buerk criticised the woman raped by Ched Evans for being drunk when she was attacked.
The veteran presenter said that the woman, now 22, deserved no ‘credit’ because she ‘could barely stand’ on the night she was raped by the disgraced footballer, 25.
Rape charities said today his words were ‘deeply offensive’ to the victim and others who have suffered sex attacks.
She had drunk two glasses of wine, four double vodkas and a sambuca on the night she was raped, and the jury unanimously agreed she could not have consented to sex with Evans in 2012.
Mr Buerk, 68, was discussing the attack ahead of his Radio 4 show Moral Maze this evening, which will discuss whether Evans should return to football.
He said: ‘Nobody comes out of the Ched Evans rape case with any credit – not the victim who’d drunk so much she could barely stand, nor the two footballers who had sex with her in the most sordid of circumstances’.
Evans raped his victim in a Rhyl Premier Inn in 2012 after his footballer friend Clayton McDonald, who was cleared of rape, texted Evans on the way there saying: ‘I’ve got a bird’.
McDonald had sex with the victim, before Evans arrived and raped her, as two others filmed it through the window.
Rape charities have reacted furiously to Mr Buerk’s words and demanded he apologises.
Rape Crisis England and Wales spokesman Katie Russell said: ‘It is difficult to stress just how inappropriate and potentially damaging this morning’s live trail from the presenter for his programme was.
‘To infer that being drunk is in any way ‘morally’ comparable to committing the serious and violent crime of rape is deeply offensive.
‘Let us not forget that drinking is not a crime; rape most definitely is. Let us not forget that sex with someone incapable of giving their consent because through alcohol consumption is rape’.
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Prosecuted: Ched Evans, pictured yesterday with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, was found guilty of rape because his victim was unable to consent
‘We sincerely hope that Michael Buerk and the BBC will issue a full apology as a matter of urgency.’
The spokesman added: ‘It is partly because of the kind of shaming, victim-blaming attitudes voiced by Michael Buerk this morning that currently only 15% of all those who are raped choose to report to the police’
MORAL MAZE? MICHAEL BUERK’S CONTROVERSIAL WORDS IN FULL
‘Nobody comes out of the Ched Evans rape case with any credit – not the victim who’d drunk so much she could barely stand, nor the two footballers who had sex with her in the most sordid of circumstances.
‘The jury convicted only one of rape and now, after serving half his five-year sentence, ashamed but unrepentant, Ched Evans has been released and there’s talk of a £500,000 contract to return to his club, Sheffield United.
‘But the internet is aflame. The victim, hiding like an IRA informer in official anonymity, is being hounded by internet trolls. So is Evans’ girlfriend, abused as a gold digger for standing by him. 150,000 have signed an online petition calling for the club not to have him back, but the fans chant ‘Super Ched Evans’ at home games – a very modern moral mess.
‘Difficult, incendiary questions about consent, remorse, atonement, the heightened moral responsibility of public figures, but it all boils down to one question: should Ched Evans play again for The Blades? The Moral Maze, after the news at eight tonight.’
Everyday Victim Blaming (EVB) told MailOnline said: ‘The only person in this case who bears no responsibility is the victim. Nothing she did makes her responsible for being a victim of rape.
‘Michael Buerk’s conflation of rape with sex is a deeply damaging rape myth and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the laws on rape and sexual violence within the UK.
‘Evans did not have sex with the victim. He raped her. The only ‘sordid circumstance’ as Evans’ choice to rape a woman who was incapable of consent’.
The BBC said Mr Buerk’s words had not been intended to offend.
A spokesman said: ‘There was no intention to suggest that the victim was in any way at fault, and we apologise if the way this live trail was phrased suggested this. Tonight’s Moral Maze will ask whether a convicted rapist who maintains his innocence should be entitled to get his job back.’
TV presenter Judy Finnigan sparked controversy by claiming his crime was ‘non violent’ and did not cause ‘bodily harm’ during a panel discussion on ITV’s Loose Women.
She also said the victim had ‘had too much to drink’.
More than 150,000 people have signed a petition demanding he is not allowed to play football again.
Ched Evans continues to cause controversy and maintains he is innocent.
He was released from prison last week and seen smiling in public with his girlfriend Natasha Massey, close to her parents’ home in Cheshire.
Police are investigating his family because CCTV footage of his victim was published on his official website.
The woman is seen walking into the Premier Inn in Rhyl where she was attacked by Evans, who was released from prison last week.
North Wales Police told MailOnline they are ‘looking into’ the post named: ‘Too drunk to consent, too drunk to remember?’, which uses the footage from the night of the rape two years ago.
The woman he attacked, 22, continues to be targeted by trolls who support Evans.
She has had to start a new life away from her friends and family in north Wales after nine people were convicted of illegally naming her in 2012.
Website: Evans, who despite his conviction maintains his innocence, raped the girl in a Premier Inn, pictured arriving with Clayton McDonald, in an attack also filmed by friends
She was named at least 6,000 times on Twitter alone following the conviction of Wales international Evans and was labelled a ‘slag’, ‘tramp’, ‘bitch’ and ‘whore’.
Police put her ‘relocation package’ together after her lifelong anonymity — protection afforded to anyone who has made and allegation of a sexual assault — was breached on the internet.
TV presenter Judy Finnigan sparked controversy on ITV’s Loose Women by claiming his crime was ‘non violent’ and also said the victim had ‘had too much to drink’
But Twitter trolls have continued to pursue her even though illegal naming carries a maximum fine of £5,000, and now claim to have revealed her new identity.
She may have to take another new name and move again.
North Wales Police Detective Superintendent Jo Williams said: ‘The victim in this case has been in regular contact with officers responsible for her care and she is receiving appropriate support at this difficult time. She has been fully appraised of all her options.’
The BBC said today it has had nine complaints about Mr Buerk’s comments, and it is not the first time Michael Buerk has caused controversy.
Previously he complained the ‘shift in the balance of power between the sexes’ has gone too far, saying ‘life is now lived in accordance with women’s rules’.
He has cited females in the top jobs in BBC broadcasting as an example, saying ‘these are the people who decide what we see and hear’.
Buerk also complained that men have been reduced to ‘sperm donors’ in an interview with the Radio Times magazine in 2005.
He also said recently described Tess Daly as ‘a pneumatic bird-brain from Strictly Come Dancing’.
He called the BBC coverage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant in 2012 was ‘cringingly inept’and called the presenters ‘airheads’
‘On the screen, a succession of Daytime airheads preened themselves, or gossiped with even more vacuous D-list ‘celebrities’. With barely an exception, they were cringingly inept.’
He has also said TV presenters who got their jobs through their beauty have no right to complain if they’re axed when their looks fade.