IT seems barely a week goes by without BBC Radio 4’s resident eejit John Humphrys talking his way into yet another controversy.

Earlier this week, the Today programme presenter made light of a news story involving a dancer who was disqualified from the World Tango Championships for assaulting his wife. Prior to an interview with former Brexit Secretary David Davis, the final item on the news bulletin was about the dancer who punched his wife.

Davis – never one to miss an opportunity to remind us what an arsehole he is – remarked “I guess this is our last tango” to which Humphrys replied: “It is indeed. I promise not to punch you if you don’t punch me”.

They returned to the jovial domestic violence theme at the end of the interview as Humphrys dutifully chuckled along when Davis said “Our last tango was very pleasant, and neither of us punched each other!”

There’s nothing that kills the notion that Britain is a meritocracy quicker than the sound of two over-promoted men laughing and making weak “jokes” about the physical assault of a woman.

Of course, Humphrys has form when it comes to ill-judged comments.

In the past he has said that the “problem” with prosecutions for rape were the increasing numbers of false allegations, which he suggested were so prevalent as to warrant anonymity for those accused of the rape. This prompted the campaign group End Violence Against Women Coalition to request that Humphrys no longer conduct interviews about sexual offences, such was his lack of understanding of the issue.

He has previously described the Westminster harassment scandal a “witch hunt” and regurgitated the trope that abusive men being held to account for their actions would somehow lead to men being afraid to ask women out on dates.

Add into the mix his comments on the BBC’s gender pay gap, gender stereotypes and all the occasions where he has casually objectified female guests and colleagues, and you have an employee who must be a constant headache for the BBC.

There have been calls for John Humphrys to be sacked over this most recent controversy, as there are on every occasion he trends on Twitter for all the wrong reasons.

I would like to see the back of him as much as the next person. His smug, sneering and ill-informed interviews add nothing to the Today programme and his constant gaffes are distracting.

But part of me also hopes that this isn’t the controversy that finally prompts the BBC to offer him a generous retirement package and a nudge out the door.

If Humphrys were sacked over this incident then a paint-by-numbers, faux-outrage circus would be played out in the media.

There would be a flurry of newspaper columns and phone-ins and probably a petition or two, all centred around how political correctness is out of control and why women can’t take a joke.

There would be the hysterical debate on free speech and the freedom to offend; made by people who earn their living using their free speech to offend as many people as possible.

And when the dust had settled, very little would have changed.

The abuse of women would still be trivialised by influential men on their public platforms and by your average man on the street.

It wouldn’t solve the problem because John Humphrys isn’t the problem.

This “joke” and the sentiment behind it is symptomatic of the sexism that is ingrained into our public discourse. Casual and cruel sexism is so commonplace that it is no surprise that the reaction to this episode was of weariness more than anger.

Most men who are idiotic or indifferent enough to make jokes about domestic abuse or rape still have the sense to keep them away from the workplace. I don’t know about you, but I take no comfort from that.

That both Humphrys and Davis felt comfortable during their exchange is a sign of their arrogance and privilege. Their disregard for the impact their words would have on women who have survived abuse – or are experiencing it – was callous and unthinking.

But Humphrys isn’t an anomaly and we should be wary of treating him as such.

The media – collectively – must improve on how it frames, discusses and reports on violence against women. The common failures that we see – be it sensationalist headlines; victim blaming; peddling myths or thoughtless commentary – often stem from a lack of understanding of gender-based violence.

Real progress in raising the standard of our media’s representations of violence against women will take time and commitment. The BBC in particular – as our public service broadcaster – has a duty to get it right. That means engaging with organisations such as Zero Tolerance and Level Up who have already done the work and created media guidelines for responsible reporting of violence against women.

For well-compensated and senior broadcasters, such as John Humphrys, this guidance should be required reading.

Given he is a repeat offender, I’d suggest he sits a test to prove he has digested and understood the material provided. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. If the BBC is to continue to justify Humphrys’ licence-fee funded salary, then they are damn well going to have to try.