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BBC: Have I Got News For You joke aimed at Iranian regime not gay people

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  1. Similarly, when 12 viewers complained about Jonathan Ross making offensive remarks towards Dana International at the 1998 British Comedy awards, but the ITC dismissed it all as good ol’ light-hearted banter:

    http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/itc/itc_publications/complaints_reports/programme_complaints/show_complaint.asp-prog_complaint_id=164.html

    Then, more recently, there was the ‘chick with a dick’ remark about Lily Allen on Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word which Ofcom dismissed as a similarly harmless bit of fun.

    After all, both Auntie Beeb and ITV obviously continue to regard transgendered people as everyday ‘fair game’ for regular humiliation and derision – it’s a matter of mere routine for us to be the butt of their jokes most probably because they know that we’re the last group for whom it’s politically correct for both the left and the right to ridicule and hold in contempt.

    Therefore, with this in mind, I wonder if the ‘yours disgusted’ right-whingeing tabloids and the ‘oh-so-keen to be seen as populist’ (bigot-vote hungry?) VIP bandwaggon-jumping politicians would have been oh-sooo publicly ‘outraged’ had Georgina Ballie been transsexual? And then, consequently, would Messrs Brand and Ross have likewise felt the need to publicly convey the depth of their concern for hurting her feelings by sending her a beautiful bouquet of flowers if she had she happened to be a transwoman? I wonder?!

    So next time you wanna pick a victim boys, just remember to check that she’s a transsexual woman first – because evidently nobody, not even our high-faluting ‘impartial’ media watchdogs, could care less then. On the contrary, they’d be more likely to defend any subsequent criticism of you as ‘political correctness gone mad’… and, who knows, you might even get a good, ‘clean’ family-orientated laugh out of it too!

  2. Rebecca – on this occasion I wouldn’t play the victim card as Armstrong’s comment was a sarcastic indictment of the homophobic Iranian regime and not a dig at gay people, though I appreciate how it may have seemed that way.
    I think we have to be careful about which battles we choose. Perhaps your ‘chick with a dick’ jibe would be a worthy example, though I didn’t see that show. Point is if we start writing “yours Digusted” letters about every slight real and imagined, we end up coming off like the boy or girl who cried wolf, and no-one takes us seriously when it really counts.
    I make damn sure there’s a definate homophobic implication before I start writing a stiff letter to the editor.

  3. I dont believe this comment was anti-gay – I think it’s pretty funny actually. What does bug me is that the BBC is not consistent, look at Brand & Ross – I think what they said was hillarious but look at the hoo-ha that’s caused.

  4. Simon Murphy 30 Oct 2008, 12:10pm

    What Armstrong did was NOT a hate crime. It was an offensive comment. However can you imagine the reaction had he had said the same thing about Jews or Black people? Therefore while I think the complainant is over-reacting I think the BBC and the media in general should not be applying different standards of behaviour towards different minority groups

  5. Seems most gays ( myself excepted ) don t have a sense of humour – surely anyone can see it was getting at Iran not gays.This is a satirical programme – stop being so bloody touchy!!

  6. I am with Tatchell on that one, am afraid.

  7. theotherhalf 30 Oct 2008, 6:32pm

    satire is dead, long live offense!

    BTW: the first poster was rite on: if you slag off Trannies no one cares, not even the Gay Press.

  8. john wilfred sharp 31 Oct 2008, 3:30am

    the statement was true facts.
    facts are neither for or against they are facts.
    facts even the worst one can be said .
    what iran same as other islam regimes does is kill gays every day.
    so we should abolish the religions that condone such killing .
    thachell is a good gay man fighting for gay rights every where

  9. I totally agree with what you say about not over-reacting to every joke or bit of banter directed towards us, flapjack. I would hate for a situation to arise whereby people are afraid of including LGBTQ people in humour. Humour is also a great ice-breaker and it’s healthy to laugh at ourselves.

    I was thinking of the way things seem to be generally speaking – where it’s seen as safer and more justifiable to poke fun of some minorities more than others. If Georgina Baillie had happened to be a transsexual woman I would find it difficult to imagine, for instance, the normally transphobic and homophobic tabloids treating this incident in the same good versus bad way.

    Ironically, today, on the very same day that the BBC Radio 2 controller felt compelled to resign because of the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross prank; the Producer of what some have considered the cruel and ultimately transphobic prank series – There’s Something About Miriam – has been awarded a top job with ITV:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/oct/30/itv-television

    Which might be a good indication of the low status of transsexual women in the ‘pecking order’. Poking fun, not only at transsexuals and transvestites, but also at anyone for exhibiting ‘gender inappropriate’ dress and behaviour seems to be fairly routine, A-OK and regarded as totally non-contentious – I’ve yet to hear of any high-profile politicians or media watchdog bodies being prepared to risk raising any public challenge to this Status Quo.

    But, yeah, there’s also a big danger of things going to far the other way too if we’re not careful. The tricky bit is: there’s a big difference in laughing *with* us and laughing *at* us but sometimes it’s not easy, for ourselves and for others (some of whom may take throwaway remarks as a green light of encouragement to discriminate and attack us), to tell which is which.

  10. Actually Rebecca I’m inclined to agree with you there, though maybe it’s a bit of a red herring linking it to this particular thread. Having read some of the comments about the treatment of Transgender people on this website, perhaps this is an issue that deserves more public recogition and understanding.
    It does seem that too often transexuals are relegated to being the butt of transphobic jokes about “I went out with this girl after I’d had a few lagers and you’ll never guess what…”, which is the same type of reaction gay people get when you hear straight people say “backs against the wall lads, there’s a poofter in the locker room” as if being gay automatically makes you a rapist of straight rugby players.
    I’m also shocked that Stonewall seems so out of touch with its transgender constituents and think that is something any gay rights organisation should take more seriously.
    Perhaps this is something that LGBT activists need to take more seriously in future, as we shouldn’t leave any segment of the LGBT community behind.

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