The manager of former darts commentator Eric Bristow asked the BBC for £5,000 in return for an interview about Bristow’s scandalous tweets about football child abuse – but the broadcaster turned him down.
BBC Radio 5 Live contacted the former darts champion for an interview, after he tweeted that footballers who have made allegations of child sex abuse were “wimps” for not confronting their attackers earlier. The tweets have now been deleted.
However, Bristow’s manager asked the BBC radio station for a fee of £5,000 plus VAT in return for his appearance, a request the BBC refused. Bristow later appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, where he was interviewed by Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.
Bristow initially defended his tweets on Good Morning Britain, saying, “There’s no use doing it [accusing somebody of a sexual offence] 30 years later, you’ve missed the boat.”
But in a statement released after the interview, he accepted the messages were offensive and apologised, adding that any money he had earned through media interviews would be donated to charity.
“I don’t use PR people to run my social account as some do, and now appreciated my wording was wrong and offended many people when all I was doing was venting my anger at the abusers and encouraging kids to act ASAP,” he said in the statement.
“Any monies offered or received for any interviews with me, will be donated in full to a relevant charity.”
BBC Sport journalist Richard Conway first revealed that the BBC turned down Bristow’s manager’s request for a fee. RadioTimes.com confirmed that 5 Live made the approach for an interview, but refused to pay him.
When RadioTimes.com asked Good Morning Britain whether they had paid for Bristow’s appearance, a spokesperson for ITV said, “We don’t discuss guest contracts.”
Presenter and journalist Morgan said on Twitter that the aim of the interview “was holding Eric to account for his very hurtful words”.
Bristow has been sacked by Sky Sports as a darts commentator following his tweets about the football child abuse scandal.
More than 20 ex-footballers have come forward with allegations of child sex abuse, but Bristow questioned in tweets (now deleted) why victims did not “sort out” their abusers “when they got older and fitter”.
Bristow said in his statement released after the ITV interview, “I know why I’ve been vilified but if one child comes forward quicker or one abuser thinks twice about the likelihood of being confronted then it will have been worth it.”
BBC journalist Conway confirmed that there was “no mention of £5,000 going to charity when BBC asked Bristow’s manager for comment”.