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Figure skating announcers suspended after hot mic picks up ‘abusive’ remarks

Meagan Duhamel, a former Canadian figure skater and current coach, was the target of misogynistic remarks by British commentators on Wednesday. (Julie Jacobson/AP)

Two British figure skating announcers, Simon Reed and Nicky Slater, were suspended Thursday by the International Skating Union, a day after making disparaging comments about a coach during the pairs short program at the world championships.

The announcers were caught having a conversation on the ISU’s live stream on YouTube when they thought their microphones were off, and one of them made an offensive remark about Meagan Duhamel, a two-time world champion skater and now a coach.

Duhamel had tweeted about the commentators Wednesday, and while discussing one of her tweets, Reed said, “Don’t worry about her.” Slater responded, “I didn’t mention her by name — I nearly did. We didn’t mention her as one of the coaches.” Then Reed called Duhamel “the b---- from Canada.”

The ISU’s Twitter account released a thread of statements, saying it was shocked by the language and that it does not fall in line with the organization’s views.

“There is no place for harassing and abusive language or remarks and behavior in sport and our society,” the statement said. “The ISU took instant action with its service provider to suspend both commentators with immediate effect and neither will cover any future Figure Skating events for the ISU.”

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The ISU apologized to Duhamel for the inappropriate comments and said an internal investigation is forthcoming.

“I have received personal apologies from Simon Reed and the ISU president and I don’t think a public apology is necessary at this point,” Duhamel said Thursday on Twitter. “I appreciate and respect their apologies.”

Duhamel tweeted her displeasure with the commentators throughout the first few days of the event, specifically with one commentator saying he didn’t watch skating often. She also was frustrated with their comments about it being “sad” that Russia wasn’t at the event. Russia was at the center of a doping scandal during the Winter Olympics in Beijing that saw 15-year-old Kamila Valieva compete despite testing positive for a banned substance. And Russia’s invasion of Ukraine brought repercussions from other countries and sports organizations, which have refused to let Russians compete in sporting events.

The misogynistic remarks prompted outrage on Twitter from figure skating viewers. Duhamel later thanked those who supported her.

Canadian announcer Ted Barton will commentate during the rest of the competition; the world championships started Sunday and continue through the weekend.