Recently, the long-standing Crufts TV presenter, Peter Purves, found out that he was being let go from the show. He is convinced that his ousting was due to his 80-year-old face no longer fitting in with Channel 4 – The Daily Mail reported.
Purves, who served as a presenter for the prestigious dog show for 41-years, told the Daily Mail: “Honestly, I don't know when I last felt so upset and angry. The producers won't admit it but I am convinced that it's ageism, pure and simple.
“My voice and my ability to communicate are as good as they have ever been. I still seem to be well liked; I still get fan mail. It's ridiculous and painful.”
His ousting came to light just after Purves had been invited to present an award to the Best in Show winner at Crufts 2020 so he contacted Sunset+Vine - the company who make the programme for Channel 4 - explaining that he wouldn’t be able to present one part of the show due to these commitments.
But it was then that the show’s executive producer reportedly said that he would no longer be required.
A follow-up email said the following about his firing: “As I am sure you're aware, a long-running production like Crufts is under constant pressure to refresh and revitalise what we do... as much in terms of the faces and voices who present the programming as in terms of the way we work to give our evolving audience insight and entertainment about the event and its wider subject matter…”
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that a long-standing presenter has been ousted from their position for reasons that they claim to be down to age.
Earlier this year, HR Grapevine reported on the former cricketers and Sky commentators Sir Ian Botham and David Gower who said farewell to their broadcaster after revealing that they were ‘being retired’ from their roles.
Gower blamed ‘ageism’ for his departure stating that the decision to get rid of the pair was marred with ‘an element of implied ageism’.
In an interview with the Telegraph Sport, he said: “I have had it explained to me that there are evolutionary trends in broadcasting, and we’ve seen the change towards more diversity.”
The prevalence of ageism
According to recent statistics from Fairygodboss, one in three people who have experienced ageism said that they encountered it before they reached the age of 45-years-old.
Following Fairgodboss’ survey, Fast Company carried out its own study revealing that 28% had personally experienced ageism at work, while 44% had observed it.
Common experiences ranged from negative comments made by colleagues regarding age and being passed over for a job opportunity due to perceived age-related reasons.
How can HR stop ageism?
Under the Equality Act 2010, people must not be discriminated against or treated less favourably due to their age. While age discrimination is clearly illegal, it still unfortunately crops up in the workplace. Therefore, employers must ensure that they do everything they need to meet legal obligations and create a fair workplace for everyone to thrive.
According to Monster, HR should consider all aspects of the issue, from the firm’s recruitment policy to promotions, redundancy and dismissals to ensure that it is free from potential direct or indirect discrimination.
Reviewing policies and procedures will also help to identify areas of age bias.
HR policies should define age discrimination and include various examples of what it looks like as well as the reporting process for grievances. Policies should also express the organisation’s commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for employees of all ages.
Getting the senior leadership team onboard will make sure that they are familiar with it but also that they are committed to upholding it too.