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Closed captioning screw-up writes that rugby referee ‘is a gay’

While the BBC system was technically accurate, it was still a mistake.

Scotland v France - NatWest Six Nations
Nigel Owens came out in 2007.
Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images

When referee Nigel Owens called a penalty Saturday in a Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and England, this is how the BBC’s closed captioning system rendered what the announcers were saying:

Oops! The text was quickly corrected to “Nigel Owens is saying ...” But the funny thing is that Owens actually is “a gay.” He came out in 2007 and is one of the top referees in the sport.

The BBC explained how the mistake was made:

Our live subtitling service produces accuracy levels in excess of 98%. But, as with all broadcasters, there are instances — particularly during live broadcasts — when mistakes happen. On this occasion the voice recognition subtitling software made an error which was spotted and corrected immediately.

Owens took the error in stride and had a good laugh: