Ex-BBC man: 'Women aren't the only victims of ageism'

Michael Cole claims that men suffer from age discrimination too.

Anna Ford, ageism
Anna Ford, pictured here at her first BBC broadcast in 1978, has complained about ageism. Photograph: Getty Images

Former BBC correspondent Michael Cole has claimed that ageing female broadcasters should stop complaining about sexism and defended producers’ right to choose presenters “regardless of age, gender, colour or race”.

Writing exclusively in the latest edition of Press Gazette magazine, Cole said men were just as likely to suffer from discrimination at the BBC and claimed to have endured five years of rejection because he looked too young.

“I have to smile every time a middle-aged female television presenter comes out of the shrubbery complaining that her honour has been tarnished by those wicked people at the BBC who have failed to promote her, to renew her contract or, in extreme cases, sacked her,” said Cole.

“What do these women expect? It matters how you look on television. The studio lights aren’t kind to ageing skin. Without exception, they all got their first jobs on the box when they were young. And they got those jobs, at least in part, because of their looks.”

Cole said producers should be free to choose presenters "regardless of age, gender, colour or race” and argued that casting was one of the most potent factors in the success of any programme.

To read more, visit Press Gazette.

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