Miriam O’Reilly was a presenter on Countryfile on the BBC in 2009 when she was replaced. She claimed she was replaced because of her gender and her age. She was 51. She refused to settle and went to court and yesterday was vindicated. The count of gender discrimination was dismissed.
Here’s what O’Reilly said:
It wasn’t about the money. I just wanted my career back…I took this action because I wanted to work for the BBC. I’m really impressed that they have apologised. However, we have a long way to go with ageism in visual media – not just the BBC, the whole industry.
Here’s what her lawyer Camilla Parker said:
This has huge implications for all broadcasters not just the BBC. The lesson is that presenters should be selected for their ability not their age…Women and men on screen should not be hired or fired on the basis of their age.
Age discrimination is a huge issue for women especially in the news business.