Gill had written: “Some time ago, I made a cheap and frankly unnecessary joke about Clare Balding looking like a big lesbian. And afterwards somebody tugged my sleeve to point out that she is a big lesbian.”
After a mock apology, he continued: “Now back to the dyke on a bike, puffing up the nooks and crannies at the bottom end of the nation.”
Balding complained to Witherow. She was then “appalled” to receive a reply stating: “In my view some members of the gay community need to stop regarding themselves as having a special victim status and behave like any other sensible group that is accepted by society.
“Not having a privileged status means, of course, one must accept occasionally being the butt of jokes. A person’s sexuality should not give them a protected status.
“Jeremy Clarkson, perhaps the epitome of the heterosexual male, is constantly jeered at for his dress sense (lack of), adolescent mindset and hairstyle. He puts up with it as a presenter’s lot and in this context I hardly think that AA Gill’s remarks were particularly cruel, especially as he ended by so warmly endorsing you as a presenter.”
Ms Balding has responded by taking to Twitter to call Gill a “twat”, one of the synonyms for the female genitalia.
So far advantage Gill I would have said.