Chris Gayle 'sexism' row: Social media reaction

Chris Gayle speaks to Mel McLaughlin at the Big Bash League game in Hobart (4 Jan 2016) Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chris Gayle's comments have prompted widespread reaction on social media

West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle's "inappropriate" comments to an Australian female reporter have cost him A$10,000 and have sparked plenty of reaction on social media.

Gayle was speaking to journalist Mel McLaughlin during a Big Bash League match in Hobart on Monday and said the following: "To see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don't blush baby."

The remarks were widely condemned as sexist, but Gayle apologised afterwards. However, he added that the reaction was "out of proportion". .

He also posted the following tweets in the wake of the exchange, including retweeting a message of support from TV presenter Piers Morgan.

Image copyright Chris Gayle/Twitter
Image copyright Piers Morgan/Twitter

In the 24 hours since the interview, his name has been tweeted about 27,000 times. Some people also used the hashtag #dontblushbaby in reference to one of the comments he made to the female journalist:

Image copyright Ryan Wadsworth/Twitter

The trend started in Australia but quickly spread to other countries including the UK, India and Jamaica, where Gayle is from.

His comments also prompted a strong reaction from the cricketing community and sports reporters.

Former England all-rounder Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff tweeted:

Image copyright Andrew Flintoff/Twitter

BBC cricket commentator Alison Mitchell tweeted her reaction, calling Gayle's behaviour "unprofessional and inappropriate":

Image copyright Alison Mitchell/Twitter

And Fox Sports reporter Neroli Meadows tweeted that it was "not funny" or "original":

Image copyright Neroli Meadows/Twitter

Meanwhile, Australian hockey international Georgie Parker called for "calm":

Image copyright Georgie Parker/Twitter

Mel McLaughlin has yet to tweet on the matter herself, but her comments have been widely spread and discussed by media colleagues, with Australian broadcaster ABC tweeting:

Image copyright ABC Grandstand/Twitter

Other tweeters have put it down to "banter":

Image copyright @BrianaaaPatrice/Twitter

But that was dismissed by others, with the Guardian's Sachin Nakrani tweeting:

Image copyright Sachin Nakrani/Twitter

And one bookmaker added the following tweet:

Image copyright Paddy Power/Twitter

Compiled by Stephen Fottrell. Additional reporting by Diana Rusk.

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