It’s not quite accurate to say that no housemates were offended by Emil’s langauge. Both Charlie and Nicky took exception to her vocabulary.What happened was that Emily used the word in the friendly, jocular way that young black guys josh one another – but entirely inappropriately because she is white. You were right to say that Laura used the word “poof” (in an exchange between two avowed straights) to express her contempt for Liam’s questionable masculinity, uttered by one of the nastiest housemates of this year’s rebarbative crop.
Does anyone still watch this tat? It’s brain-dead TV.
I wrote to Channel 4 before the start of Big Brother 2007 to ask:-”Please can you tell me if homophobia on Big Brother will be discouraged in the same way as you will presumably clamp down on racism in the BB House? I am extremely concerned that gay people on the programme will now be victims of prejudice instead of people from different races/religions.”I received a reply about two days later on 25th May 2007.This is how Channel 4 replied:-Dear David,Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries.We have learnt that it is unwise to ‘guarantee’ anything in relation to Big Brother – we don’t provide a script for housemates. However, we can ‘guarantee’ that Big Brother will act promptly to intervene where we see unacceptable behaviour by housemates that threatens to offend either another housemate or the audience at home. We have updated the House Rules to make it clear to housemates what we and the viewers mean by offensive behaviour.Regards,Joe FitzpatrickChannel 4 Viewer Enquiries
Below is a letter of complaint I mailed this morning to various media, including Channel 4 (broadcaster of the Big Brother television show), and Ofcom (The independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries):I heard and read every explanation by Big Brother contestant Laura Williams, the television show’s representatives, and Channel 4 personnel and am still not satisfied that Laura’s exclusion from expulsion by the producers is because she used the term ‘poof’ in a light-hearted, joking manner.I agree with Channel 4’s claim that Laura’s use of the term was in jest and not in an offensive manner. I saw then, as I do now in replays, that she and housemate Liam McGough were having fun, and that Liam was not offend to any degree. His reaction shows he did not feel slighted, just as Emily Parr did not offend Charley Uchea by her use of the word ‘nigger’. In these two separate instances, contestants uttered ‘nigger’ and ‘poof’ in friendly conversation, not as a slur or intentional derogatory insult. Regardless, the terms received differing consequences by Big Brother and Channel 4’s producers.When Big Brother (part of the Endemol UK Group) producers explained their reason for expelling Emily from the house, Angela Jain, who heads the Big Brother commissioning team at Channel 4 (owned and operated by the Channel Four Television Corporation), said: “The word nigger is clearly racially offensive and there was no justification for its use.We have removed Emily from the house to once again make it clear to all housemates and the viewers at home that such behaviour won’t be tolerated.”When asked why Laura remains a resident of the house, the official response by Big Brother officials is: “During a chat in the bedroom Laura was tickling Liam’s feet as he tried not to laugh. When he did laugh, Laura called him “you poof” in an affectionate and flirting way. The words were not said in anger nor were they intended to be derogatory or demeaning. Neither Liam, nor any other housemate, took offence to this term. The use of the word was carefully considered in the context in which it was said and consideration given to the fact that no offence was intended or caused to any other housemate.”The reason there is a difference in the intensity of the response to these equally offensive words and the similar context of which the housemates used them, is due to Channel 4’s fear of a greater backlash from the black community than from the gay community. Therefore, Channel 4 is not responding to the moral issue of using these terms, but rather where it believes the balance of power lies. The result of their actions, and press releases, exhibits their belief that an offence against the gay community is a less serious matter than an affront to the black community is. I do not support nor tolerate the heterodox in their lack of apparent action, and submit this formal complaint.Daniel Lee Patrick HargreavesProactive Diversity Founders ****************************************Do not call or text your vote to have Laura evicted, as these calls only reward Big Brother monetarily per call. Send in you own letter based on the points I state in my letter and forward them to: Channel 4:Ofcom:Thank you, Daniel Lee Patrick HargreavesProactive Diversity Founders
Channel 4 did demonstrate double standards on this issue and I complained. However by and large Channel 4 is much more diverse-friendly than the other channels. In February they had a week of programmes for gay teens. BTW they say that the money from Big Brother phone votes this year will go to charity.
Thank you, Mark, for taking the time to read my posting. However, the fact that Channel 4 is more diverse, despite recent programmes, does not excuse nor does it condone its present broadcasts. Just because a person led an exemplanary life before he commits a crime does not excuse his criminal act. As for the small portion of money it donates to charity, the majority of the money goes to itself to generate more television shows to generate even more income for itself.
Thank you Daniel and Patrick for your posting, which I think sets the issue out very clearly. When I read the article initially I had it in my head that the previous remark that caused the explusion had not been made with the intention of being derogatory, although it still lead to an expulsion.Am I to understand it now that the housemates can say whatever they like as long as they do it in a flirtatious manner? A little coquettish grin and any racist or homophobic slur it overlooked.Must give that a try next time I’m in Brixton.
What a bunch of crap