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BBC Apologizes After Reporter Asks Morocco World Cup Captain About Gay Players On Her Team

Ghizlane Chebbak shook her head in disbelief after the question, given that same-sex relationships are illegal in Morocco.

Screenshot of press conference

BBC apologized for an inappropriate question asked by one of its reporters during a press conference ahead of Morocco's first game of the 2023 Women's World Cup.

During a media Q&A, the reporter—working for BBC World Service—began his question to team captain Ghizlane Chebbak by noting:

“In Morocco, it’s illegal to have a gay relationship.”

Morocco criminalizes same-sex relations, and sentences can range from a fine to a maximum penalty of three years in prison. But the BBC reporter being fully aware of this still felt attempting to out members of the Moroccan team was appropriate.

The reporter continued, asking Chebbak:

“Do you have any gay players in your squad and what’s life like for them in Morocco?”

Fortunately, the moderator interjected:

“Sorry, this is a very political question, so we’ll just stick to questions relating to football.”

But the reporter persisted:

“No, it’s not political."
“It’s about people, it’s got nothing to do with politics. Please let her answer the question.”

A video of the moment shows Chebbak wincing at the question before she takes her earpiece out and shakes her head.

You can watch below.

BBC did later issue an apology for the reporter's question.

A spokesperson for the news organization told CNN:

“We recognize that the question was inappropriate. We had no intention to cause any harm or distress.”

Despite the apology, people on social media were appalled at both the journalist's question and his persistent demand for a response.

CBS sports reporter Shireen Ahmed - who was at the press conference - best posed the BBC reporter's error in judgement.

"Journalists have an obligation to be fair, accurate and practice with care."
"If reporting harms someone, it is not only unethical but dangerous."

CNN reported that the BBC reporter was addressed by a FIFA representative immediately following the conclusion of the press conference.

The Moroccan Football Federation has not yet responded to their request for comment.