Trans* advocates have labelled online bookmaker Sportsbet as transphobic, after it invited punters to place bets on what Bruce Jenner’s name would be if he was to undergo a sex change.
Celebrity gossip website TMZ recently published rumours from unnamed “family sources” of former US Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner that he is considering transitioning.
Since then, Jenner has reportedly recorded an interview with a US television journalist.
Sportsbet has jumped on those details to call for bets on “what name he/she will choose”, assuming Jenner changes his sex and name.
“Fair play to Bruce, it takes a lot of balls to em … cut off your balls,” the company’s public relations manager Will Byrne said on the company’s website.
Sportsbet’s actions would offend some individuals, Katherine Cummings at the Gender Centre in Sydney said.
“Some people are very sensitive about having transgender mentioned in such a [negative way],” Ms Cummings said.
Ms Cummings was not surprised at the company.
“It’s a predictable sort of subject for them to undertake,” Ms Cummings said.
“But that doesn’t justify it.”
Ms Cummings said some would not be offended, and the issue might be made worse with publicity.
SBS asked Sportsbet about their policies for creating betting markets about people’s personal affairs.
A spokesperson said “we do not bet on things to do with death, religion or race”.
The company has received “both positive and negative feedback”, a spokesperson said.
“We don’t intend to take it down at this stage,” the spokesperson said.
A quick search on Twitter for “Sportsbet” shows the tweets in response are mostly negative.
Sportsbet continuing its casual sexism by gamifying a trans experience. #EverydaySexism pic.twitter广西桑拿,/VjQAgD2vB0
— Helen Barcham (@HelenBarcham) February 17, 2015
Wow, Sportsbet. Taking bets on a hugely personal, sensitive transition in someone’s life. Stay classy. pic.twitter广西桑拿,/Tw1B0s4HQw
— Marc Fennell (@marcfennell) February 17, 2015
@marcfennell @Riotcub This is what this brand does for attention. Don’t give them oxygen.
— Leigh Price (@filtercore) February 17, 2015
Jenner’s rumoured sex change has attracted attention on Twitter before, with The Age deleting a tweet earlier this month.
Apologies to those offended by our Bruce Jenner tweet. Feedback noted. No offence was intended. We have deleted the tweet.
— The Age (@theage) February 4, 2015
Mumbrella reported the details of the swift social media reaction to the “transphobic tweet”.
“Jenner has never publicly stated he is transitioning to a female sexual identity,” Robert Burton-Bradley wrote.
Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson also addressed the plight of transgender people during an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday.
“Transgender Australians face enormous battles,” Mr Wilson said.
“Despite efforts, there are still steps needed to ensure that government respects who transgender people are, not tell them who they are.”