Top BBC political journalist Andrew Neil has deleted a tweet calling The Observer’s Carole Cadwalldr a “mad cat woman”, which was published in the early hours of this morning.
Neil, who presents Politics Live and This Week, was criticised by a number of other journalists for the 3.15am tweet, in which he punned that Cadwalladr was “Karol Kodswallop”.
The broadcaster’s language mimicks that used by Leave.EU campaign architect Arron Banks, who has previously described Cadwalladr as a “sad cat lady” in a tweet.
Neil’s tweet (below) was online for at least seven hours before being deleted.
Cadwalladr has received plaudits and prizes for her work exposing Facebook data harvesting by now disbanded firm Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used the data to target Facebook users with political adverts to influence the UK Brexit vote and US presidential election.
She has criticised the BBC for not giving her right of reply when it interviewed Arron Banks on The Andrew Marr Show on 4 November.
Responding indirectly to Neil on Twitter this afternoon, Cadwalladr said: “Four days ago, I wrote to @BBC re its role in amplifying @Arron_banks’ harassment campaign against me. I cited Neil’s tweets.
“This isn’t just sexist & unfunny. & it doesn’t just reveal wider failure to report the story. It betrays the British public. Who are not being told the truth.”
Earlier this year Cadwalladr took home the George Orwell Prize for Journalism.
Last week she won the top prize at the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Awards, where she warned of a “war on truth” on social media. She also used the awards to claim the UK press is now “under attack”.
Speaking to Press Gazette previously, Cadwalladr has highlighted the abuse she has received over her Cambridge Analytica story, including from so-called “tech bros”.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Andrew has deleted what he recognises was an inappropriate tweet.”
Journalists were quick to criticise Neil’s choice of words on Twitter.
‘Mad cat woman’. From a major BBC presenter about a female journalist (an award-winning one). Because now they fancy showing us their misogyny too? https://t.co/k6AewZTD5X
— Terri White (@Terri_White) November 13, 2018
I'm not a fan of the general bashing of Andrew Neil/the BBC, but this was a really unpleasant and silly thing for him to tweet. https://t.co/XqVCbonYyN
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) November 13, 2018
When you're an award-winning investigative journalist who has broken some of the biggest political stories of the past year, but also happen to be a woman. pic.twitter.com/r6pA4PUbgE
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) November 13, 2018