Sports Reporter Calls Danica Patrick A “Bitch”

Wendy Stokesby:


This clip is all kinds of ew. Via the Women’s Media Center on February 20th, the Fox 5 San Diego sports reporter Ross Shimabuku called race car driver Danica Patrick a “bitch” in a spot that was apparently about how “sexy” she is — and how ungrateful she is when reporters ask her about it. Ahh, a one-two obnoxiousness punch!

Shimabuku opened the clip saying, “Danica Patrick is such a pretty girl and she makes a lot of money in sponsorships. And what’s not attractive? She’s sexy and she knows it.”

The clip pans to Danica Patrick — with her Are You Sure We’re Not Watching “30 Rock” Right Now? chyron reading “I’m sexy and I know it!” — saying to an off-camerareporter: “I don’t quite understand why, when you’re referring to a girl, a female athlete in particular, that you have to use the word ‘sexy.’ Is there any other word you can use to describe me?”

Shimabuku then says in a voiceover, “Oh, I’ve got a few words. Starts with a ‘b’ and it’s not beautiful.”


Second of all, I get it: she appears in saucy GoDaddy ads, yet gets annoyed at a reporter who presumably just asked her about being sexy. At first glance it’s hypocritical and Fox News was all too happy to jump on her about that. But Shimabuku didn’t call her out for hypocrisy; he called her a sexist slur. And if you actually listen to what she is saying — why does a female athlete have to be called sexy, instead of, say, successful? — she is making a point. And come on: “bitch” is a lazy way to criticize a woman who is just saying something what she thinks. (And actually rather meta, considering she was complaining about sexist media coverage of female athletes in the first place.) Hmm, where have we heard the words “be cute and shut up” before?

At least, the female anchor on Fox 5 San Diego tried to stand up for Danica, pointing out how difficult it is for her to be making it “in a man’s world.” And Ross Shimabuku has since apologized on-air, although it’s kinda half-hearted and “I think she’s actual great!”-y. (Because, you know, when you think someone is great, you call them a “bitch” on air.)  I, for one, still hope Ross Shimabuku is packing up his desk. The whole thing comes off as rather halfhearted.  If that ESPN reporter lost his job over the unprofessionalism in using the word “chink” in a headline referring to Jeremy Lin, Ross Shimabuku should lose his job over calling Danica Patrick a “bitch.”



Original by: Jessica Wakeman

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