A gay Member of Parliament has written an open letter to boxer Tyson Fury — the heavyweight champion of the world known for his socially conservative views on homosexuality, women and abortion — proposing they meet for a “training session”.
“As a former schoolboy boxer (when I was all of 12) I say bring it on!” wrote Chris Bryant, the Labour Party MP for Rhondda, Wales and Shadow Leader of House of Commons.
“If you come to my workplace I’ll come to yours”, he added.
“As a gay man, former Anglican vicar and previous Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport I am worried that your comments could increase the stigma felt by young gay people and could encourage the bullying”, wrote Mr. Bryant, proposing that the two meet to discuss the topic.
He said he would give Mr. Fury “a proper platform in Parliament to help get to the root of your true beliefs and ensure no young homosexual person feels any stigma or bullying because of your comments.”
Yet, in the same letter, Mr. Bryant acknowledged that Mr. Fury had protested the label “homophobic”, and made it clear he personally held no animosity or ill feeling towards gay people. He merely stuck by a particular interpretation of the Bible.
Mr. Bryant said it was “encouraging” that, just over a week ago, Mr. Fury told the Jeremy Vine Show:
“I would like to put on record that I am not homophobic. I have homosexual friends and I do not judge them because of their sexuality. My comments that you may have read are from the Holy Scriptures, and this is what I live from”, Mr. Fury had said.
Officially, the BBC has insisted, “nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year are decided on their sporting achievements”. However a presenter labeled him “dickhead” live on BBC News who “should not” win due to views, and a BBC reporter called him a “laughable idiot” on his personal Facebook page.
A large number of LGBT rights groups have now announced that they plan to protest at the awards ceremony, and the petition calling for him to be dropped from the shortlist has topped 138,000 signatures.