The BBC confirmed today that it has received complaints from viewers after presenter Patrick Kielty called a Comic Relief Does Fame Academy contestant “a big gayer.”
MediaGuardian reports that TV watchdog Ofcom has also received complaints from viewers who thought the Irish presenter’s comment was homophobic.
DJ Colin Murray had tears in his eyes after performing on the charity programme, watched by nearly six million people on Saturday night.
This show of emotion is apparently what prompted Mr Kielty to make his homophobic comment.
A BBC spokeswoman told MediaGuardian:
“We received a small number of complaints following Patrick’s comment on the show Saturday night.
“Patrick’s comment was spur of the moment, unscripted and not intended to cause offence. However, we have reminded Patrick to be more careful during the remaining live shows.”
The BBC were heavily criticised last year for failing to take seriously complaints about BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles’ use of the word ‘gay’ on-air.
Campaigners called for the DJ to be sacked after he repeatedly used the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory manner, at one point using it to describe a ringtone.
BBC governors backed the DJ saying the items, “met the required editorial standards and did not demonstrate homophobia.”
The independent committee recognised Moyles’ comments may have caused offence, but said the use of the word “gay” to mean “lame” or “rubbish” was widespread amongst young people.
Moyles was named Bully of the Year at the Stonewall Awards in November 2006.
Announcing the award at the Royal Academy of Arts, host Sir Ian McKellen said: “Chris Moyles repeatedly uses the word gay in the playground sense without apology, that is inappropriate language for a host of a national breakfast show who speaks to millions of young children.”
Kielty was born in Northern Ireland, and first made a name for himself as a regional stand up comedian.
He became a national presenter after his BB Northern Ireland show PK Tonight won a Royal Television Society Award in 1995.
The BBC are thought to have received about a dozen complaints about his homophobic comment on Comic Relief Does Fame Academy.