Northern Ireland

Protest at SPOTY venue in Belfast over Tyson Fury inclusion in ceremony

spoty protest at SSE Arena
Image caption Protesters gathered outside the Sports Personality of the Year venue in Belfast

About 40 people have protested outside the BBC Sports Personality of the Year venue in Belfast over the nomination of boxer Tyson Fury.

Fury has made controversial comments about women and has appeared to equate homosexuality with paedophilia.

The protest at the SSE Arena has been organised by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) groups.

The event has attracted some of the biggest names in sport.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Tyson Fury is one of 12 nominees for Sports Personality of the Year

John O'Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, said: 'It is very disappointing that the BBC have ignored public opinion and refused to remove Tyson Fury from the shortlist.

"An excellent boxer Tyson Fury may be, however his extremely callous and erroneous remarks about our community make him an unworthy candidate to be recognised among the UK's excellent sporting personalities and ambassadors."

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Stormont Sport Minister Carál Ní Chuilín met the protesters and expressed solidarity with them.

"We believe that the remarks that were made by Tyson Fury were disgraceful, they were appalling, they were misogynistic, they were homophobic, and they have no place in a modern society," Mr McGuinness said.

"I think that those remarks should be withdrawn and an apology should be made. But apart from that it's hopefully it's going to be a great night."

Fury was one of 12 contenders in the running for the award.

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