UK sports station apologizes for caller's anti-Semitic remark about Tottenham owner

Caller's anti-Semitic remark during Youtube sports show segment directed at team's Jewish chairman called "appalling" by Tottenham.

Dan Verbin ,

Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)

A UK sports radio station has apologized to Tottenham football club and its Jewish chairman Daniel Levy after a caller’s on-air anti-Semitic slur was broadcast live during a Youtube show on Tuesday night.

According to UK media reports, the incident occurred when talkSPORT hosts Perry Groves and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan were taking calls about player Harry Kane who wishes to leave the soccer team but whose trade to Manchester City for 100 million pounds ($139 million) was rejected by Levy who was waiting for a significantly higher offer.

The “Sports Bar” hosts were having a back-and-forth with a caller when Jarrett-Bryan asked “Are you saying Spurs should get the fee they feel he’s worth? And if they don’t get that, he’s not going anywhere?”

The caller replied: "Yeah but Levy, Levy is... he's a Jew. He's not gonna let him go for nothing, is he?"

Both hosts appeared shocked by what they heard and somewhat speechless, with Jarrett-Bryan struggling to respond to the anti-Semitic comment.

The show has received criticism on social media for not forcefully criticizing the caller or condemning outright the anti-Jewish slur he made.

The offensive segment was removed when the show was later broadcast over the radio.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the Spurs filed a complaint with the broadcaster over the remark.

The occurrence led MP Andrew Percy, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, to lodge a complaint with media regular Ofcom. He also contacted talkSPORT, reported the Mirror.

The head of talk SPORT Lee Clayton has since issued an apology.

"We are all appalled by the comment that was made by a caller during a live Youtube broadcast of The Sports Bar. There is absolutely no room for discrimination of any kind in society,” Clayton said.

Noting the apology, Tottenham said in a statement: “We were appalled that neither presenter addressed the comment, failing to call out the anti-Semitic trope. We are under no doubt that if an equivalent comment had been made regarding an individual’s race or other protected characteristic, the response would have been immediate and far-reaching.”

The team added, “It cannot be acceptable that anti-Semitism does not receive the same level of condemnation as other forms of discrimination and efforts to tackle it should be no less rigorous.”