Ofcom today fined the BBC £150,000 for Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross’s offensive phonecalls to veteran actor Andrew Sachs.
The pair had left lewd messages on the Fawlty Towers star’s answerphone about his granddaughter Georgina Baillie, a porn star who Brand had slept with.
Sachs had been due to appear on the Russell Brand show but had not answered his phone.
While few listeners complained at the time the programme was broadcast, a campaign against the presenters by the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday eventually led to 42,000 complaints.
The fine is likely to raise eyebrows as the BBC has not punished Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles over a recent Ofcom judgement which found him in breach of the broadcasting code after listeners complained he had made homophobic remarks about singer Will Young.
During the broadcast, on January 20th, Moyles imitated the singer by singing alternative versions to his well known singles ‘Evergreen’ and ‘Leave Right Now. During both songs, the media regulator found that Moyles “adopted an effeminate and high pitched voice.”
The DJ was named as “Bully of the Year” by gay rights charity Stonewall in 2006 after Moyles refused to apologise for describing a ring tone that he didn’t like as being “gay.”
Moyles has not been suspended over the incidents.
Over the New Year, 13 viewers complained after Radio 5 Live DJ Spoony made homophobic comments about the relationship between actress Lindsay Lohan and DJ Sam Ronson.
Speaking on BBC Three programme The Most Annoying People of 2008, he said: “Let the munters and mingers get each other. That’s cool because nobody wants them.
“When they’re hot and fit – Hollywood superstars – they should be saved for the guys.”
Ofcom investigated the slurs but took no further action.
Last week, former Culture Secretary Chris Smith told PinkNews.co.uk that the BBC needed to take stronger action over its star DJ.
When asked by PinkNews.co.uk if the corporation should allow the presenter to make such comments, he said: “No, and I think they need to take a more severe line on Chris Moyles and make him aware of his responsibilities as a broadcaster.”