LONDON (AP) — Martina Navratilova said she is “extremely angry” and feels let down by the BBC after learning that John McEnroe gets paid at least 10 times more than her for their broadcasting roles at Wimbledon.
In a list of the BBC’s highest-paid workers published last year, it was revealed that McEnroe earned between 150,000-199,999 pounds ($210,000-280,000) for working at Wimbledon. Navratilova said she gets paid 15,000 pounds ($21,000).
Navratilova, a nine-time singles champion at the All England Club, said she was told by the BBC that she earns a “comparable amount, so ... we were not told the truth.”
“It’s extremely unfair and it makes me angry for the other women that I think go through this,” Navratilova told “Panorama: Britain’s Equal Pay Scandal,” a program being aired on the BBC on Monday.
The BBC responded to Navratilova’s comments by saying that, as an “occasional contributor,” she appears on fewer broadcasts and is on a different type of contract than McEnroe.
“John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” the BBC said in a statement. “They are simply not comparable.”
The corporation said that while Navratilova is paid per appearance, has a fixed volume of work and has no contractual commitment, McEnroe is on call for the entire 13 days of the tournament, has a larger breadth of work — including radio and publicity — and has a contract that means he cannot work for another British broadcaster without the BBC’s permission.
“He is a defining voice within the BBC’s coverage,” the BBC said. “He is widely considered to be the best expert/commentator in the sport, highly valued by our audiences ... His pay reflects all of this; gender isn’t a factor.”
Navratilova said her agent will ask for more money in future to work for the BBC.
McEnroe said he heard about the pay disparity but had no immediate comment.
“I definitely feel that at some point in the very near future, if necessary, I will respond to it. But I also believe that this isn’t the place to discuss it,” McEnroe said after a news conference Monday in Chicago for the Laver Cup.
“And the BBC, to my understanding, has responded and I believe in an appropriate way at least for what has been said so far. But if this keeps up and people think this is a story in a couple of days, I’m sure at some point I’ll have something to say about it.”
The gender pay gap at the BBC has been a talking point since the salaries of top BBC talent were revealed last year. A review commissioned by the BBC found a 6.8 percent gender pay gap, but “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making.”