The BBC has sparked a fresh ‘woke’ row for using the term ‘fisherpeople’ in a news report, with exasperated listeners arguing that women only fill a fraction of the jobs.
Many tuning into Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday were irked by Europe editor Katya Adler’s gender neutral description during a package on Brexit talks.
Critics said people working in the industry on boats are overwhelmingly men, pointing to a study finding only 2.7 per cent are female.
Ashley Mullenger, who calls herself the ‘female fisherman’, joined the backlash and says she only knows of six women also doing her job in the UK.
The Corporation’s style guide suggests: ‘Unless you are sure only males are involved, avoid words such as “newsmen”, “businessmen” and “policemen”.’
A BBC source told MailOnline that ‘fisherpeople’ is a ‘perfectly acceptable’ term but stressed there is no ban on the word ‘fisherman’.
But the row has reignited accusations the BBC is becoming too woke – despite a drive by its new director-general Tim Davie to dispel such claims.
Listeners tuning into Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday were left exasperated when Europe editor Katya Adler (pictured) used the gender neutral description during a package on Brexit negotiations
Ashley Mullenger, who calls herself the ‘female fisherman’, joined the backlash and says she only knows of six women also doing her job in the UK
Piers Morgan railed against the use of ‘fisherpeople’ and hit out at the BBC for ditching ‘fisherman’, which is used in common parlance.
The GMB presenter said on the show: ‘Here’s the point, it’s a rough old job, on the trawler boats on the rough high seas.
‘I’ve never seen a woman on a trawler boat doing that. There must be some, I guess, but is there a single woman in the country who actually trawls for fish professionally… the whole language is being changed from fisherman to fisherpeople.’
He added: ‘There are certain jobs that women don’t like to do. And it may be that in a trawler, rough and tough in the North Sea at midnight on a Wednesday in January, it’s not up there on the to-do-list of the equality brigade.’
Morgan said that only 2.7 per cent of fishermen are female – figures believed to be obtained in a Norweigan study of the global industry.
Ms Mullenger, from Wells-next-the-sea, Norfolk, appeared live on the show from a trawler to add her criticism to the use of the term.
Asked if she likes being called a ‘fisherman’, she replied: ‘Yeah I love it. I don’t see the issue with being called a fisherman even if you’re a female.’
She added that she was only aware of about six female fisherman in the country.
Piers Morgan (left) railed against the use of ‘fisherpeople’ and hit out at the BBC for ditching ‘fisherman’, which is used in common parlance
Chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, Barrie Deas, said that while lots of women work in the industry, very few do catching jobs on boats.
He said the term ‘fisherpeople’ was clunky and told the Telegraph: ‘If anyone feels the need to change the nomenclature, that’s easily resolved. In North East Scotland, where I’m from, they refer to “fishers”.’
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted: ‘BBC Radio 4 now calls fishermen “fisherpeople”. God save us from this woke cobblers.’
In recent years the BBC has been dogged by accusations of being overly ‘woke’ and breaching impartiality codes.
Recent rows have included a ban on Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory at Last Night of the Proms, which was reversed, and a Newsnight monologue tearing into Dominic Cummings and the Conservative government.
Mr Davie has told Corporation staff they need to ‘urgently champion and recommit to impartiality’, while attempting to rein in outspoken journalists on Twitter.
Referring to Ms Adler’s Radio 4 broadcast, a BBC source told MailOnline: ‘There was nothing fishy about this report’.