The BBC continues to double fault on equal pay. Tennis champ Martina Navratilova is the latest to call out the publicly funded corporation for its skewed pay structure after discovering that fellow pundit John McEnroe is paid at least 10 times more than her.
Navratilova, who was crowned Wimbledon champion nine times, has told the BBC’s Panorama series she was paid about $21,000 (£15,000) for her role as commentator and pundit at the UK tournament while McEnroe earned between $210,000 (£150,000) and $280,000 (£199,999). McEnroe’s remuneration was revealed in a list of the BBC’s top earners last Summer.
In the interview for Panorama: Britain’s Equal Pay Scandal, which airs in the UK tonight, Navratilova said: “It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000 … I get about £15,000 for Wimbledon and unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon he’s getting at least 10 times as much money…It’s shocking this happens, but for me it’s a part-time job – two weeks of my life. For women that work full-time, maybe the discrepancy isn’t so large, but it adds up over a lifetime.”
BBC Sport defended the pay gap, saying McEnroe’s role was of “a different scale, scope and time commitment”, to Navratilova, adding: “They are simply not comparable.” Panorama estimated that three-time Wimbledon champ McEnroe appeared about 30 times for the BBC at the competition last year, compared with Navratilova’s 10 appearances.
The embarrassing news comes as fellow UK broadcaster Channel4 today revealed that it has a startling 28.6% mean pay gap and 47.6% mean bonus gap between genders, a statistic the broadcaster’s chief executive Alex Mahon said made for “uncomfortable reading.” The revelation was made in a pay report by the broadcaster and comes less than a week after media company ITN, which makes news programmes for UK broadcasters ITV, Channel4 and Channel5, revealed it has a pay gap of 19.6%.
The gender pay row at the BBC has been rumbling since last summer when it published a list of the salaries of its on-air stars. Only one third were women and the top 7 were men. The backlash prompted a BBC pay review which found that men were being paid 9.3% more than women on average. Former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie resigned from her role in protest at the pay inequalities.