Chris Hughes told to apologise after calling female cricketer ‘little Barbie’


Former Love Island star Chris Hughes has been urged to apologise following an awkward interview with female cricketer Maitlan Brown during the BBC’s coverage of The Hundred. Hughes, who also regularly presents horse racing on ITV, was speaking to Brown during the Southern Brave’s innings against the Trent Rockets on Tuesday.

Hughes initially managed to keep the conversation on the topic of cricket as he discussed the match with Brown, although he later got sidetracked when she mentioned a recent team bonding exercise that she took part in alongside her Brave team-mates.

“We watched Barbie the other night altogether and it was really good team bonding and the group is gelling really well together,” she said. “That is the key to success I think in tournaments like this, how well and how quickly you can gel as a group.”

Hughes went on to spark a wave of social media criticism with his reply as he said: “You’re a little Barbie yourself, aren’t you, with your blue eyes.” Brown then let out an awkward laugh before Hughes added: “She’s blushing now.”

A number of viewers took to Twitter to demand an apology from Hughes, with @Dan1290_ posting: “Has Chris Hughes apologised for this? Hideous!” Meanwhile, @tasneemsummerk simply posed the question: “Can you die of second-hand embarrassment?”

“Got off to a bad start with ‘you’re a batsman’ and just went further downhill,” wrote @joalhe1997, while @WG_RumblePants added: “She’s an elite athlete and he’s referring to her as a Barbie. Let’s all have a think about whether that’s in any way appropriate. No, we don’t need to. It’s not!”

Others questioned if Hughes would be invited back by the BBC to cover The Hundred again, with @ThatChris1209 saying: “Wonder if the roaming interviewer on The Hundred coverage will be back, calling a female player a batsman and telling Maitlan Brown she’s ‘a bit of a Barbie’?”

A BBC spokesperson later told Express Sport: “We have spoken to Chris and explained that his comment was not appropriate.”

Hughes is part of the BBC’s live presenting team for The Hundred and was tasked with the roving reporter role on Tuesday, which marked the opening day of this year’s tournament. He has also presented live coverage of major horse racing events, including the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National, on ITV since 2017.

A representative of Hughes has also been approached for comment by Express Sport.

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