Felix Cat


The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Issue 1850 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

BBC presenter booed after telling Imperial student to “buy ladies’ shoes”

Comment at Imperial Sports Awards night draws rebuke from attendees.

Photo: Skippo10, CC BY-SA 4.0/Jim Linwood, CC BY 2.0


in Issue 1850

A BBC One presenter was booed at Imperial’s annual sports awards ceremony after telling a female award winner to buy “ladies’ shoes”.

Mark Clemmit, who hosts the BBC’s Football Focus TV show, presented the student with a prize during the Sports Awards 2024 at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington a fortnight ago. After she returned to her seat, Clemmit observed that the student was wearing trainers and remarked that she should consider selling her award to buy some “ladies’ shoes”.

The broadcaster said in an email that his comments had not landed as he had intended, and that he was commenting solely on the student’s decision to wear trainers to a black-tie dinner and ‘nothing more’.

Clemmit said: ‘I was alerted that the individual involved was upset. I went to her. I apologised. I asked her if we were OK. She said we were. On that basis, as far as I was concerned this was dealt with on the night.’

The student in question could not be reached for comment.

Clemmit’s words prompted opprobrium from the audience of Imperial sports clubs. Imperial College Union Sports Chair Vaibhav Chetty, who was present at the event, said: “Unanimously, all the students in the crowd were disapproving, booing, you could tell the air changed a bit.” He added that Clemmit’s comments came “out of nowhere”.

An attendee who recalled the broadcaster’s comments and spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the award winner “was very upset, it was meant to be a good night for her… All the girls I talked to were like, this is outrageous. We just felt singled out.

“If any of the boys were wearing trainers, he wouldn't have said that.”

Clemmit told Felix that he was satisfied with his ‘honesty and integrity’ but apologised to audience members who ‘don’t agree and were offended’. He added: ‘Live events, in which I am very experienced, involve making unscripted, split-second decisions. Very occasionally things don’t work out as planned.’

It is understood that Move Imperial, which hosted the ceremony, is investigating complaints made regarding a comment at the Sports Awards night.

Additional reporting by Taylor Pomfret.

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