BBC presenter Michael Buerk has sparked anger after saying live on Radio 4 that no one came out of the Ched Evans rape case with any credit - including his "victim who'd drunk so much she could barely stand".
Speaking on Radio 4's flagship breakfast show Today as part of a trailer for tonight's Moral Maze, which he presents, Buerk said:
Nobody comes out of the Ched Evans rape case with any credit - not the victim who'd drunk so much she could barely stand, nor the two footballers who had sex with her in the most sordid of circumstances.
The jury convicted only one of rape and now, after serving half his five-year sentence, ashamed but unrepentant, Ched Evans has been released and there's talk of a £500,000 contract to return to his club, Sheffield United. But the internet is aflame.
Evans left prison on Friday after serving half of his five-year sentence. The 25-year-old former Sheffield United striker said in an interview this weekend with the Sunday Mirror that he regretted cheating on his girlfriend but claimed he was innocent of rape. His victim was forced to change her name and move house after her identity was revealed by Evans's supporters.
Twitter users immediately picked up on Buerk's comments and a BBC spokesperson apologised for his phrasing, saying in a statement to i100: "There was no intention to suggest that the victim was in any way at fault, and we apologise if the way this live trail was phrased suggested this. Tonight's Moral Maze will ask whether a convicted rapist who maintains his innocence should be entitled to get his job back."
Buerk has previously been accused of sexism after suggesting female presenters who are given jobs because they "look nice" should not complain it is ageist when they lose them as they get older.