The UK’s independent regulator for the communications industries may take action over a BBC TV programme that denigrated lesbians.
A spokesperson for Ofcom told PinkNews.co.uk that it had received “less than ten” complaints about The Most Annoying People of 2008, which was broadcast several times over the New Year period on BBC Three.
A Radio 5 Live DJ known as Spoony was commenting on the lesbian relationship between actress Lindsay Lohan and DJ Sam Ronson on the show.
“Let the munters and mingers get each other. That’s cool because nobody wants them,” he said.
“When they’re hot and fit – Hollywood superstars – they should be saved for the guys.”
An Ofcom spokesman said:
“All UK broadcasters must adhere to the Broadcasting Code which sets standards for the content of TV programmes.
“We assess all complaints and programmes against the Code.”
The number of complaints to Ofcom has no effect on the process. Indeed, there does not need to be a complaint for Ofcom to investigate a possible breach of the code.
Section 2.3 of the code states:
“In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.
“Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). ”
The meaning of context includes the editorial content of the programme, programmes or series; the service on which the material is broadcast; the time of broadcast; the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused by the inclusion of any particular sort of material in programmes generally or programmes of a particular description and the effect of the material on viewers or listeners who may come across it unawares.
Gay rights group Stonewall and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell have both criticised the BBC for not taking complaints about homophobia seriously.
In the programme former porn performer Ron Jeremy made several references to ejaculating on the couple.
The BBC has defended the comments.
“The contributors to the programme are expressing their own views and opinions, which are meant in a light-hearted way with no malicious intent,” a spokesperson for the corporation said.
The Most Annoying People of 2008 was narrated by Spoony’s fellow Radio 5 DJ Richard Bacon, who was sacked from children’s TV show Blue Peter when a tabloid newspaper revealed that he used cocaine.