Press Complaints Commission Rules In Favour of Clare Balding

After they considered AA Gill's comments about a 'dyke on a bike’ to be'demeaning and gratuitous'

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Clare Balding's complaint about AA Gill's comments about her sexuality has been upheld.

The Chiswick resident said she was 'appalled' that the Sunday Times editor had allowed Gill to refer to her as a 'dyke on a bike’ in a review of her new cycling programme, Britain By Bike.

Balding complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) which ruled that some of the words were used were done so in a "demeaning and gratuitous way".

The Sunday Times defended its often controversial columnist on 'freedom of expression grounds'.

Speaking after the ruling, Clare Balding said she was "delighted" with the verdict. "It was important for me and, crucially, for millions of other people quietly going about their work, to make the point that we deserve to be judged on our ability to do our jobs and not on the basis of our race, religion, gender or, in this case, sexual orientation.

"I would like to thank all those who offered their support via e-mail, letter and Twitter - they gave me the strength to stand up and be counted.

"I hope that this decision shows we are moving on from the days when derogatory comments about a person's sexuality were regarded as clever or funny."

The full PCC judgement must be published in this weekend's Sunday Times newspaper and a formal apology has been requested by the tv presenter.

Clare Balding was forced to apologise last year after her ‘joke’ about Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell and his funny looking teeth. Her comment about Treadwell not having the best teeth in the world prompted more than 2,000 people to complain to the BBC and almost sparked an inquiry by Ofcom.

The BBC issued a formal apology on her behalf.

September 17, 2010