I was surprised at the BBC’s announcement today that Radio Cymru’s Andrew ‘Tommo’ Thomas will be returning to presenting after only two weeks off the air.
Radio Cymru took him off air while a complaint by a member of the public over the over the alleged comments was investigated, and he was replaced by presenter Elen Pencwm.
Tommo has apparently “unreservedly apologised” to Gŵyl Nôl a Mla’n. But surely, it’s those his comments have offended who deserve an apology.
If Golwg 360’s report is accurate, that Tommo has only been off the air for two weeks suggests that Radio Cymru is not taking the offensive nature of his comments entirely seriously.
As a victim of rape, I know the physiological trauma that this crime can cause, which has stayed with me my entire life, and that it should not be taken lightly.
This is sadly not an uncommon crime. After I spoke up last year about my own rape at the age of 14 I was contacted by countless women who had been through a similar experience.
The one thing we all had in common was a feeling that rape wasn’t taken seriously as a problem, and that there was considerable stigma attached to the victim.
By reducing comments about rape to mere ‘banter’ we further normalise rape and turn it into a joke that isn’t to be taken seriously.
As a BBC presenter, Tommo needs to set an example for his listeners, and the BBC itself needs to make clear that it takes the issue seriously as well.
Taking a presenter off the air after a complaint is standard procedure and allowing Tommo to return after a mere two weeks suggests that Radio Cymru feels that the matter isn’t to be taken entirely seriously.
Elen Pencwm is doing an excellent job in his place and should have been allowed to continue for the time being.
I’ve been a fan of Tommo in the past but I certainly won’t be tuning in in the future.