British police are investigating newly crowned world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury over comments he made about homosexuality, a spokeswoman from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said on Wednesday.
Fury, 27, has attracted controversy after likening homosexuality to paedophilia, with over 105,000 people signing a petition calling for his removal from the shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
A GMP spokeswoman said that a member of the public had reported a “hate crime” on Wednesday after watching a BBC television programme in which Fury’s remarks were discussed.
She said the force was taking the matter “very seriously” and would be attending the complainant’s address to speak to him in person before deciding whether to question Fury.
Fury has also been accused of sexism, having notably stated that a woman’s place was “in the kitchen and on her back”.
The complaint only concerns his remarks about homosexuality.
In a recent interview with the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Fury, who is a born-again Christian, said that three things needed to be accomplished “before the devil comes home.”
“One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries, one of them is abortion and the other is paedophilia,” he said. “Who would have thought in the 50s and 60s that those first two would be legalised?”
Manchester-born Fury, who is of traveller heritage and styles himself as the ‘Gypsy King’, has denied being homophobic or sexist and says that his views merely reflect what is written in the Bible.
“That’s my beliefs, just like I believe in Lord Jesus Christ as my lord and saviour and if anyone wants to dispute that, let them do it,” he said in a recent YouTube video.
Fury stunned long-standing champion Wladimir Klitschko in Duesseldorf at the end of last month to win the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight belts.
The BBC has defended its decision to shortlist him for its flagship award, saying it is “not an endorsement of an individual’s personal beliefs”.