An abusive online petition has been set up to have New Zealand cricket president Debbie Hockley dumped from the Sky cricket commentary team.
In it Hockley, who joined the Sky commentary box late last year, is called an "absolute joke," a "stupid bimbo", a "c**t", told to "shut the f**k up" and even threatened with physical violence.
The petition, on change.org, was set up by Hamiltonian Chris Higgens four weeks ago and has been signed by more than 440 people.
The sole purpose of the petition is to have the former White Ferns captain "removed from the commentary box because she has no idea what she's talking about", and comments range from criticism of her calling of certain incidents during the recent series against the West Indies and England, to one commentator claiming he "would smash" her.
Higgens wrote in a statement that he set up the petition from the perspective of a cricket fan, not a narcissist, and that he "did not condone the threatening messages" posted to the page.
"People think that myself and the people who signed the petition dislike the female commentators solely because they are female, this is untrue, at least from my part," Higgens wrote.
"If a male performed poorly in the commentary box I would dislike them equally as much."
"I do believe that the two female commentators were selected largely because they are women. They were selected to commentate not on merit, but because of their gender, which shows in their poor statements."
"I want to reiterate that I would not be against women in the commentary box, if their statements were up to par, but unfortunately I believe Debbie Hockley and Lesley Murdochs are not."
Hockley made her debut in the commentary box for the Black Caps' second test against the West Indies last December - joining former New Zealand internationals Ian Smith, Craig Cumming, Scott Styris, Simon Doull, Mark Richardson and Ken Rutherford behind the microphone.
However, it wasn't smooth sailing for Hockley, who issued an official apology just a few days later for an embarrassing on-air blunder were she questioned whether a spectator was "Serena Williams".
reported that both Sky and New Zealand Cricket pledged their continued support to the presence of women in the commentary box, slamming the petition as "misinformed, misguided, and misogynist".
Richard Boock from New Zealand Cricket said that the petition reinforced the need for change and justified the "push for more gender diversity and equality across cricket".
"New Zealand Cricket has adopted an inclusivity policy which aims to confront inappropriate barriers, practices, and attitudes and to ensure everyone is treated with respect regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion," said Boock.
"The comments made on the petition justify New Zealand Cricket's push for more gender diversity in the game."
Boock said that Hockley didn't want to "dignify the petition with a comment, either from her or New Zealand cricket on her behalf".
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