The way we can now all communicate via social networks, like Facebook, Twitter etc has opened the world to some great debates as well as some really banal tweets. I’m still puzzled why Stephen Fry’s tweet that he was stuck in a lift a few years back made the Six O Clock news, I guess it must have been a slow day for news reports, but come on, who really cared?
Since the social network phenomenon started, there have been a fair number of celebrities and people becoming infamous for airing their views; particularly those who have pressed the wrong button and found there comments going worldwide. Last week we had labour MP Diane Abbott back tracking on a tweet that had her in hot water with her boss Ed Miliband, while the latest public sports figure, Oxford City striker Lee Steele has found to his detriment that casual homophobia is not acceptable.
While watching Celerbity Big Brother Steele tweeted about former Welsh rugby captain Gareth Thomas, (a contestant on the show) saying: “Wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlock my arse”. Apart from the homophobia, there is this tired presumption from straight men that they would be found sexually attractive in the first place, (personally, Steele looks like Rickie Gervais’ less attractive sibling). Thankfully Steele has found that in the Twenty-First Century to public express such remarks are no longer acceptable. Although not surprising, the message boards have been flooded with comments from people supporting Steele’s words with many of them making more direct homophobic comments, including: These freaks of nature are all terribly sensitive aren’t they!
It would seem that there is still a long way to go to stamp out homophobia, particularly within football. Part of the problem may lay in the fact that gay hate is rife not only on the terraces, but by the players as well. Thankfully Oxford City management team have been swift to act and have sacked Steele from the team:
“The Oxford City board have decided to release Lee Steele in view of his recent comment via social media which is considered seriously contrary to the ethos of the club.”
I think it’s brilliant that we have these social networks that allow all of us to express our feelings, but to band about words that can incite hatred must be stamped out in exactly the same way as sexism and racial hatred has been tackled.