As usual, Sir Peter of Tatchell makes a good point. Whatever the rule is, the application should be consistent. As things stand, there appears to be no rule (other than the opinion of the mob) and such application as there is, is all over the place.
I can tell you the main reason for the difference between the treatment of Chris Moyles and Brand and Ross in a nutshell – If an 82 year old gets told his granddaughter slept with a radio 2 presenter, the readership of the Daily Mail want heads to roll at the Beeb. However call someone a fag or use the word ‘gay’ in a derogatory context and they’ll probably nod in agreement, even if they don’t express the sentiment out loud.
The Daily Mail was responsible for generating the shitstorm that ended with Brand and Ross being taken off air and the controller sacked. While I believe Ross and Brand were accountable for their actions and it was inappropriate to leave taunts on an answering machine, I think the punishment and the hype that surrounded it did not fit the crime, for which they both apologised.
Having watched the toady Mail journalist defend his lynchmob campaign on last night’s newsnight I coudn’t escape the feeling that as a representative of the most homophobic and racist mainstream paper in the UK short of the BNP newsletter, who the hell was he to take the moral highground and demand anyone’s head on a plate? Without the Rosses and Brands on our airwaves we’d have a bland middle of the road lineup that only Daily mail readers would tune into which is presumably what they want. I say why not start a similar campaign to get Daily Mail journalists sacked for the racist and homophobic tripe they churn out on an almost daily basis. Richard Littlejohn gets my vote.
It is possible that the BBC acted as it did because it received 30,000 complaints, or am I being naïve?
The sad thing is that we have all allowed gay campaigning to be privatized (in its original sense). I do sometimes wonder whether ‘Stonewall’ and ‘Tatchell’ are the only two names in Pink News’s contact book. Time was when gay campaign groups existed up and down the country and achieved quite remarkable results. Their dissolution was not the BBC’s fault but ours.
What maddens me about the events of the last couple of weeks is that no-one will call a spade a spade and say that what Ross and Brand did was not a “mistake”, a “prank”, “unacceptable”, or “obscene”. It was the bullying of an 80-year-old man by emptying bile on to his answer-phone at his home. Gay people know only too well what bullying is and that’s what we should demand that the BBC apologizes for at the same time as raising our protest-game over homo-cidal rappers.
Michael- You make a valid point, however on the date of broadcast there were only 2 complaints. It was only when the Daily mail got on its soapbox and demanded its readership file letters of complaint to the BBC that the 30000 complaints flooded in. I don’t argue that Ross and Brand should have been held accountable, and that prank calls are immature and unprofessional but the baying for blood element is the bit that really got under my skin, especially when the main engine for regime change is a newspaper who’s bread and butter is the disemination of hate amongst bigots. Comedy by nature pushes the envelope, in fact “Fonejacker” on Channel 4 is nothing but prank calls from end to end, and the prank call has been a mainstay of Radio comedy for at least the last decade. Their only crime was to cross the line by making it personal (though not untrue).
I say they should have been fined and taken of air for a period. I know that’s what happened with Ross, but the sheer humbug of demanding his head on a plate is stupid. Channel 4 news got in on the act of sticking the boot in, but I call BS, as with Ross and Brand’s combined audience ratings that would simply be a ploy to poach them cheap and make them a mainstay of their own schedules.
Respect to Andrew Sachs however who accepted their apology with good grace. He’s the only person who comes away with his dignity still entact.
agreed flapjack, Mr Sach acted with dignity whilst these two sewer mouthed idiots behaved like, well, sewer mouthed idiots! I have to agree with Peter Tatchell on this one (he does seem to speak a lot of sense these days; mugabe, hypocritical religious leaders….)
You may be right about the Daily Mail. Flaps, but I complained to the BBC after seeing clips on BBC TV news (at the same time as the Mail shriek). My hunch is that the vivid TV extracts stirred up many complaints. (Having seen the full YouTube video of the episode it seems a lot tamer than TV’s “highlights” made it look.) It was interesting that, according to the BBC, many if not most of the complainers said they did not object to sexual content– not what Daily Mail readers would say – but to the humiliation of Andrew Sachs. And it was the bullying that fired me up, I must say.
As to “edgy comedy”, I don’t think you have to bully and hurt to be funny. Graham Norton and even Paul Merton can be “edgy” but their humour does not depend on kicking victims in the way that the Bernard Mannings and Jonathan Rosses often have. I’ve been praying for Jonathan Ross to vanish like a puff of smoke ever since he ruined “They think it’s all over…” a programme I loved but stopped watching after Ross’s nastiness spoiled it for me. (All my personal taste, or lack of it!)
Fair enough Michael, though I still wouldn’t put Ross in the same category as Manning. Manning built his entire act around being unPC, offensive and nasty, I still think Ross only shows a mean side on rare occasions, and he’s done a fair job taking over from Barry Norman as the BBC’s film critic. I consider this more of a lapse of decency than a trend.
Yet again the gay media obediently publishes Peter Twatchell’s wholly irrelevant and hypocritical views. He doesn’t give a damn about the events, it is just another opportunity for the sad old self-promoting dinosaur to open his rancid gob.
The BBC described the man who was murdered by Mr Gay UK as a ‘promiscuous homosexual’ which it appears not many people found offensive. Stonewall didnt appear that bothered either I think that Michael is right about the the small groups who did so much to make changes dissolved or were swallowed up by the now large group that we rely upon (and fund) to fight those battles cant be bothered about the ‘small issues’ that still incite hatred and condone violence. Chris Moyles has a lot to answer for – everytime I hear a kid use ‘gay’ as a derogatory term – and got away with it Maybe now though Stonewall might reconsider their priority of challenging the daily homophobic language that appears to be acceptable for the BBC.
So Finn not a fan of Peter’s then, are you a tiny bit bitter maybe? And your own outstanding contribution to gay and human rights would be what exactly? Shall we try a non-abusive and a less emotive and a more reasoned contribution do you think? Anything promoted by the Daily Mail should be avoided at all costs that paper is no friend of any gay person alive or dead.
What annoys me is the coverage for Jonathan to be sacked.
Gordon Brown has right royally messed this country up recently and there’s no protests as harsh as the treatment to Ross.
I don’t condone these twos behaviour – but I do expect the media and this country’s people to have some sense of level-headed thinking!
Ross and Brand messed with TWO people, Brown has messed with over 65 MILLION.
The media – Great Britons – WAKE UP, SMELL THE REALITY!
I’m sorry but I am one of the 2 million listeners who found the whole affair nothing more than a prank that backfired – yes they should have known better and when they were chatting about what they were going to do on the show, common sense should have told them maybe not this time! However, in comparison to what else goes out on the air (all broadcast media) this was particularly tame.
Am I the only one to have realised that this whole affair is a very clever media manipulation by some people trying to make a name for themselves as media spinners and girls trying to ‘sell their stories about how it upset their grandfather, who made his name by making fun of the Spanish population who work in the UK!’
I am absolutely livid about the how this has been handled – people have had their careers damaged with no thought. The BBC Trust and management have not asked me! 30,000 people complaining and the vast majority had not heard the programme. And when the BBC get comments about the affair they ask people who shouldn’t even be getting publicity never mind commenting on the morality of these two. And what the hell are the Tory’s up to asking for a debate on editorial control of the BBC – we are entering a recession, we have our boys being shot and killed in theatres of war with dangerous equipment, we have banks being saved by our money yet are rushing to repossess houses, close facilities for small businesses and forcing them into bankruptcy, huge numbers of people being made unemployed (while the government are trying to squeeze payments to those on benefits), a failing NHS and so on.
So lets put it into perspective this comedy was on the edge yet 1,970,000 people didn’t complain!
If I had my way, I want Russell Brand reinstated, Jonathan Ross reinstated, the senior executive managers of BBC Radio reinstated immediately. The only person who should have been asked to go was the Producer who cleared the show for broadcast – it was there job to make sure the programme meets the editorial criteria of the BBC. Next time this happens (and it will) can the BBC please ask those of us who actually listen to the programmes!
I would also like the Pinknews and other liberal publishers keep and eye on the media and where something really is an issue worthy of reaction provide a vehicle for those of us who have the spunk and spine to react. Don’t leave it to the chattering classes of the Daily Mail/Express readers to comment on our behalf. As Peter T quite rightly stands up on our behalf and highlights real issues. Only by having “our” voices heard will we be able to stop the abuse that goes on in the name of ‘common decency’.
Once again Pink News gives Tatchell uncritical support for his unrepresentative rants.
Tatchell represents himself and noone else and has long ago lost any claim to speak for the ‘Gay Community’
Ross and Brand should have been summarily sacked by the BBC and that is the end of their story.