BBC Radio 1 has been criticised by gay equality organisation Stonewall for its stance on homophobic language.

The channel has decided to bleep the word ‘faggot’ in the classic Christmas song Fairytale of New York because it thinks some members of the audience might find it offensive.

However, Radio 1 recently stood by DJ Chris Moyles and refused to apologise for his use of the word ‘gay’ in a context more associated with homophobic playground language.

Campaigners called for the DJ to be sacked after repeatedly using ‘gay’ in a derogatory manner, most recently to describe a mobile phone ring tone.

“We would be happier to see Radio 1 take action against the persistently anti-gay Chris Moyles rather than bleep one word of a Christmas classic,” said Stonewall’s chief executive Ben Summerskill told PinkNews.co.uk.

In 2006 Moyles was awarded the title Bully of the Year at the Stonewall Awards.

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.”

But Radio1 defended Moyles, a spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk: “Chris’s friends and listeners don’t see him in this way at all.”

BBC governors backed the DJ saying the items “met the required editorial standards and did not demonstrate homophobia.”

A spokesman for the BBC said they had taken a decision to censor Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl, earlier this week. Radio 2 will play the unedited version.

“We are playing an edited version because some members of the audience might find it offensive,” said a BBC Radio 1 spokesperson.

The word ‘faggot’ has also been used on the Moyles show.

In October 2006 the derogatory term was used by Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who was a guest on the Chris Moyles show. During what the BBC describe as “friendly banter,” the pair discussed the attractiveness of two of Manchester United’s players, Alan Smith and Paul Scholes.

After much provocation by Moyles, who insisted on asking which team-mate Rio would prefer to date, Rio responded by calling Moyles “a faggot.”

A BBC spokesperson said that as Rio apologised immediately after he made the comment, only a few complaints had been received by the company in the hours after the show was broadcast.