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Jonathan Ross ‘not in breach’ of broadcasting code over gay adoption joke

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  1. michael liverpool 6 Jul 2009, 12:42pm

    There doesn’t seem to be any clear rules as to what should be considered humour and what should be considered offensive. Ofcom seems to let broadcasters off the hook when they take action against offensive comments. In this case, Jonathan Ross’s shows are now pre-recorded. It’s case closed for Ofcom. Same when Jade Goody and co allegedly made racist remarks in BB. Channel 4 told Goody and co off, and Channel 4 avoided Ofcom’s punishment. What is interesting is how the broadcasters themselves approach homophobia and perceived homophobia. It is definitely not taken as serious as racism. Remember housemate Emily Parr using the word ‘n***er’ in Big Brother 8? She was swiftly evicted. Yet during the same series, housemate Laura repeatedly used the word ‘p**f’ when referring to fellow housemate Liam. She was told off but no tough action was taken by Channel 4. Why was she not removed from the house? Carol Thatcher’s comments about golliwogs had her sacked from the BBC, yet Jeremy Clarkson’s reference to a car being ‘bit ginger beer’ had him slapped on the wrist. The broadcasters need to take tougher action against homophobic or perceived homophobic content, and to at least apply the same policies as they do to ‘racist’ comments. We’re still a laughing stock in many people’s eyes my dears. Let’s hope we have the last laugh one day. All we can ask for is fairness for everyone.

  2. And how we would also laugh and see the joke if he’d said the same thing about a white boy who wanted the latest R&B CD maybe growing up to be the sort that would bring home a black girlfriend……..

    I care less about the rule than seeing whatever it happens to be applied evenly.

  3. Of course Ross gets away with it: as soon as we all grow out of our Hannah Montana MP3 players we’ll be signing up to join “Four Puffs and a Piano” because there is only one world view of homosexuals as far as the BBC and Ofcom are concerned. The day we get heterosexuals complaining that gays and lesbians have been portrayed as anything other then the usual crash stereotype we’ll know we are getting somewhere. God forbid we ever see a positive, real portrayal of our lives for the money we fork over to Ross and the rest of his co-horts at the BBC. When will Ofcom and the BBC get it?

  4. Robert, ex-pat Brit 6 Jul 2009, 1:34pm

    Ross got away with it. If he claims not to be homophobic, why would he use us as the butt of a joke? What’s the point, Ross? So now its “gay” if a straight male buy’s an mp3 of a female singer? He’s an idiot. With the over-inflated salary he makes, he should do himself and us a huge favour and get some elocution classes, his speech pattern is annoying.

  5. A ridculous ruling. Offfensive is down to the perception of listeners not those making the comments, a lesson that had to be learned over many incidents with respect to racism. Double standards now. I’ll have to write another complaint about the ruling.

  6. Perhaps OfCom needs to pay a little more attention to the Law! A ‘hate incident’ is NOT defined as such by the OfCom definition or opinion … it is defined IN LAW by the perception of the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.
    If 61 people make a complaint that a remark is offensive – it is most certainly NOT up to OfCom to unilaterally re-write the Law!!!

    And a new Broadcasting Code is also clearly needed!

  7. “The humour was therefore based on the absurdity of the scenario and was not intended to cause offence.”

    Oh, nice. So if a boy liked Hannah Montana it would be absurd? And someone laughed so that proves it was a joke? I expect some people would laugh at racist jokes, and, according to this warped logic that would make it OK.

    I really think that Ofcom just don’t get it. It’s this subtle, implied homophobia that causes a lot of upset for many people in the UK – the idea that it’s a bit of a joke being gay, that it’s not normal. A comment doesn’t have to be vicious to be offensive. I don’t think Ross is a homophobe personally, but I do wish he’d understand how many of his listeners think, and how some would interpret this ‘joke’.

  8. Brian Burton 6 Jul 2009, 3:43pm

    Homophobic Wossy the B……! He knows he got away with the Telephone scandal, he’s still pushing his homophobic type (unfunny) humour to the limit!

  9. I wrote to Trevor Phillips from EHRC about that Jonathan Ross remark, and received a reply on 2nd June from one of his advisers:

    … we work across the broadcast industry to ensure that broadcasters are mindful of the privileged position they hold and the importance of using the platform they have in a considerate way that takes account of the diversity of their audiences. We are confident that in the vast majority of cases broadcasters are handling issues of equality and diversity appropriately and sensitively. However, I would agree with you that the BBC should recognise the hurt that the kind of statement made by Mr. Ross could cause to gay and lesbian people. …..

  10. I think we should demand a “Judicial Review” of Ofcom! We could ask the Tories to look into it, that would certainly improve there acceptance in the eyes of the Gay Community!

    Talking of Ofcom, a new complaint to them would be the Wall to Wall coverage of London Pride that “did not” happen! If Ofcom finds the BBC not guilty of “Extreme” homophobia with regards to the BBC not covering this Massive Event, over 1 Million people attended London Pride and if it had been “ANY” other event the BBC would have had Wall to Wall coverage.

    Ofcom are starting to look like they are in Collaboration with the BBC! There for a “Judicial Review” of Ofcom must now be a Priority!!!!

  11. Oh here we go again. Kicking off about a pathetic little jibe. Some ask where the line is drawn. It’s simple, it’s drawn where people find it *personally* offensive. Not when you think someone else might be upset. It’s about time all you wimpy little lefty faggots developed a thicker skin and got into the real world. If you get offended, people will do it all the more. Demonstrate that you really don’t give a shit and they will turn elsewhere for their kicks.

  12. I would agree with you RobN, if I felt at all that these people were making jokes at our expense for their “kicks”, as you put it. They are not doing it to get a rise out of us, but to get a cheap laugh from people who do not understand, nor care, about how difficult it is sometimes to be gay. The media is extremely powerful and is quite capable of planting ideas and prejudices in the general public, as well as reinforcing them. Allowing these comments to be treated any less than a racist comment would be is simply unfair and shows how little we are thought of. I agree that one should not be offended at the smallest of things, as I often enjoy laughing at myself. However, would I enjoy being made fun of because I have red hair? or because I have freckles? No, because these things cannot be changed, just like I don´t want to be the butt of these jokes because I´m gay, and pay towards it too!

  13. ‘And how we would also laugh and see the joke if he’d said the same thing about a white boy who wanted the latest R&B CD maybe growing up to be the sort that would bring home a black girlfriend’ No, you are wrong. The only apt comparison os for a Black (Gay) guy to rbing home his White boyfriend!

  14. Ofcom are the joke. There is no point in complaining to them about anything. It’s the same as shouting your complaint into an empty room.

  15. Tom: The problem with all these complaints is “20 people rang in to complain” where you never hear “200 people rang in to say they thought it was really funny” – for the simple reason, people don’t.
    Some people would ring up to complain about the fucking test card.

    Complaints are very biased and have to be weighed up against the common consensus. Considering Wossy racks up millions of listeners and only a small percentage complained, I’d say it was a result.

  16. Pumpkin Pie 7 Jul 2009, 1:45am

    Let’s not forget that the actual joke here is that gay kids should be sent to orphanages. I think that’s pretty strong grounds for offense. I don’t see Ross as homophobic, just a guy who really didn’t think that gag through very well. What irks me about the affair is that, afterwards, Ross didn’t say “oops, that did sound pretty bad, sorry about that”, he maintained his ignorance. I can accept that people say stupid things, but to not realise that claiming gay kids should be sent away is offensive is pretty disappointing.

    As for the foamy-mouthed RobN, this “joke” victimises gay children. It does not affect me, as I am too old to be sent to an orphanage. I don’t understand what you mean by “personally offensive” – surely offense can only ever be personal? If you mean only things that directly affect us, like I said, it’s not me I worry about, but people far more vulnerable than myself.

  17. Pumpkin Pie: I assume by your name, and your misspelling of “offense” (sic), you are American; What I was trying to get at is there is a very pervasive PC attitude of people claiming “That is offensive”, when what they actually mean is “I think some people might find that offensive”. A classic example recently was of a town hall refusing to fly the St George Cross flag (The national flag of England) on their roof, as it was a predominantly ethnic community, and it was considered (by the white, lefto-centric socialist pillocks) that it might be deemed as offensive by many non-English living there. There was a public outcry by everybody, and many non-English actually stated “We don’t really give a shit”. Far more PC action and complaints are committed by well-wishing third parties on behalf of other people who would really rather that these interfering prats kept their noses out of other peoples opinions.

    “If you mean only things that directly affect us, like I said, it’s not me I worry about, but people far more vulnerable than myself.”
    Precisely: So it’s not “personally offensive” – leave them to complain should they wish to, and stop trying to fight other people’s battles.

  18. Pumpkin Pie 7 Jul 2009, 2:49am

    Pumpkin Pie: I assume by your name, and your misspelling of “offense” (sic), you are American

    I’m British. Offence and defence are pretty much the only things I spell the American way, and it’s still 50-50 there.

    Precisely: So it’s not “personally offensive” – leave them to complain should they wish to, and stop trying to fight other people’s battles.

    What, children? Either way, I do find these things personally offensive. Given how self-centred you are, it might be a little hard to wrap your brain around the concept of feeling angry at something that doesn’t directly affect you. In a nutshell, it’s pretty much “I like these people, someone’s insulting them, what the hell”.

    Take the British Empire, for example. If some American said “the British Empire was lame, they barely killed any foreigners”, you’d be inclined to say “shut up, not only did you never even have an empire, you only had one ethnic group to wipe out and you couldn’t even manage that”. See, even though they’re referring to people who lived and died long before your time, you’re still offended. Not just for them, but because you identify with and care for them so closely that it becomes personal. That’s what I’m getting at here, just replace archaic nationalist emblems with living breathing people and you have what I’m feeling.

  19. Pumpkin: All this is based on the assumption that these people ARE offended. You’re empathy is based purely on your own personal opinion, not theirs. There is a likelihood that you treat the matter far more seriously than those you are trying to protect.
    It is this fact which leaves so many people in a stranglehold of ridiculous PC bollocks like banning “Baa Baa Black Sheep” from children’s books in case it upsets Afro-Caribbeans. The fact of the matter was that black people hadn’t even thought about it until some twatty liberal-minded white teacher thought it up. Do you see where I am coming from? If people are personally offended, let them take up the fight, but “pissed-off by proxy” just causes more friction, achieves little and is insufficient reason for you to stick your oar in.

  20. J Mathews 7 Jul 2009, 8:47am

    the group he has on his show ‘four poofs and a piano’ are very, very outdated. For heavens sake, change the record guys.

    As regards what Jonaffin woss (just a joke) said being humorous, all I can say is, people used to think the TV show ‘love thy neighbour’ was very funny, and harmless fun. Nowadays, jokes about white honkeys etc.. are considered pretty offensive by most.

    I see the usual homophobes pretending they are gay are posting as usual on this site. Don’t you agree RobN?

  21. J Mathews 7 Jul 2009, 8:51am

    Pumpkin pie,

    You are wasting your time discussing with RobN. He is a troll of the very worst kind. Best not to feed the troll.

  22. Monkeychops 7 Jul 2009, 9:46am

    How typical – gays claiming to be mortally wounded by a small joke. Yet quite happily calling him Wossy as a direct piss-take of his speech impediment. Usual double standards guys, well done to you all. And, I’m sure, if it were Graham Norton making that joke, there’s be no complaint at all. Odd, no?

    Now, have you heard Mr Ross getting upset about the jibes made towards him and his “disability”? No, probably because he doesn’t care. The man rips the piss our of everyone and everything – you should be pleased he feels you are equal enough and mundane enough to be made fun of, along with women, gingers, footballers and whoevr else he mocks. I’m sure you’d all be proven hypocrites if you were to be monitored over what jokes you laughed at. Bet there’d be some offensive ones that made you chuckle. But of course, when it comes to the gays, we’re all just victims aren’t we? It can’t possibly be funny, ever (yawn).

    Toughen up guys, straight people have more respect for those who can laugh at themselves. If you can’t, they think you’re a wimp and hence below them.

    Four Poofs and A Piano are there of their own volition, they clearly aren’t offended and Ross is so very obviously not homophobic. I think people overuse that word – homophobia to me is a deep-seated, irrational and uncompromising attitude of ignorance and resentment. A dodgy joke simply doesn’t fall into that category.

  23. @RobN I think that your initial comment was completely ignorant of the thoughts and feelings of others. And to even address people as faggots along the line is totally ludicurous. May I straight away tell you how so foolish and egocentric you are. You seem the faggot thereby.
    Secondly, bringing the case of misspelling into conclusion that one is not British is arrogant. Most of your sentences are incomplete so to say as they go into inconclusive branches. And did you notice that ‘You’re empathy…’ is wrong since it should be ‘Your’. And before you go on about it, I am not British, but black African. May be, that will help you rattle on with your self-centred little thinking.

    As for Jonathan r’UST'(I call him this deliberately too as someone has laughed at it and so, its cool), well; how dare we blame him since he can always get out of it cheaply and easily? If he has any conscience, he wouldnt be wanting to evaluate his millions with such delicate issues about others. And here some idiots are condoning it with excuses of wether is it personal or not. So inhuman, I say. His other cohorts also laughed when they both made a foolish joke of Andrew Sachs. Funny that wasnt passed over based on that.

    Ofcom on its part is also full of over-rated fools whose judgement shows just that. Yes. That someone laughed at such a wicked joke, makes it a great national opinion to be adopted and enshrined into legislation I suppose: ‘send kids away'; how so heartless.

    For even thinking this, Ross should be assessed by a mental health specialist because he might end up abusing kids too. Well, why wouldnt he if he would put his child up for adoption just because he (Ross) thinks that child is gay, etc. He might have beaten up he child first to make sure the child changes.

    Like Pumpkin pie said, I am gay too, but this is not about me. And at my age, well, no one would send me to anywhere… but surely, someone has to tell these heartless people that it is someone else’ static aspects life they are toying with.

  24. Mihangel apYrs 7 Jul 2009, 1:25pm

    it’s the slippery slop RobN: if insults are allowed (even throw-away quips) it tends to validate the actions of the stupids in their own eyes at least, in taking it to the next level.

    Henry II probably didn’t want Thomas Becket murdered, but he would open his big mouth….

  25. Mihangel apYrs 7 Jul 2009, 1:26pm

    (I meant “slope”)

  26. “His other cohorts also laughed when they both made a foolish joke of Andrew Sachs. Funny that wasnt passed over based on that.”

    Yup, one obvious example which goes to show the contortions of logic to which Ofcom has resorted in arriving at this decision.

    “Four Poofs and A Piano are there of their own volition, they clearly aren’t offended and Ross is so very obviously not homophobic. I think people overuse that word – homophobia to me is a deep-seated, irrational and uncompromising attitude of ignorance and resentment. A dodgy joke simply doesn’t fall into that category.”

    Jonathan Ross’s house band is there because that is how they earn their daily bread. Without Ross they would be a lot less well-off, and therefore they are in a subservient relationship as they know. If the band were to complain, they would obviously stand in fear of losing their free publicity. Ross tweeted the explanation that the band were already performing with the name they chose before he had anything to do with them (in reply to this)

    Jonathan Ross can dish out ‘jokes’ alright, but can he take them? Here’s what happened after a couple of obviously spoof Twitterers started up. One of them joked about how Ross spends his millions. So, what does Mr Ross do? He asked for the tweets to be silenced, and twitter admin obliged. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, on the other hand can take a joke, and didn’t ask for the spoof to be removed by twitter admins.

    As to use of the term ‘homophobia’ – it covers a multitude of sins. Gays in Iran are forced to have their testicles removed if they want to have legal relationhips with men; that’s homophobia for sure, as is the judicial murder of gay people in Iran and elsewhere. But what about ‘jokey banter,’ or that ‘joke’ on 9th May. Many here have quite rightly suggested that if the ‘joke’ was racist in nature it would have been given short shrift by the bigwigs at Ofcom (and at the BBC).

    We don’t tolerate racism, and nor should homophobic prejudice be tolerated – not for one instant.

  27. Pumpkin Pie 8 Jul 2009, 2:51am

    RobN (19):-
    That’s besides the point. It doesn’t matter whether or not the target was offended – it was a tasteless joke about something which I feel strongly about and I feel offended. Not for others, just because I find it offensive. Plus, the dangers of “stealth-bigotry” don’t go away even if no-one’s offended.

    J Mathews (21):-
    I can’t resist. It’s just so addictive!

    FunkyDooWops (22):-
    First off, last time I saw you, I implied that I preferred RobN to you as my misanthrope of choice. I just want to make it clear that I actually find you less loathsome than RobN, and you seem to have somewhat less unpleasant views to him. I meant to imply that I find RobN more entertaining than you, that’s all. He does have his moments, you see.

    Next up, making fun of speech impediments is nowhere near the level that his gag was on. Wossy’s not the only one with an uncontrollable quirk that gets them singled out and teased. It’s not really all that serious an issue – race, sex and sexuality are, however.

    you should be pleased he feels you are equal enough and mundane enough to be made fun of, along with women, gingers, footballers and whoevr else he mocks

    I love it when people make jokes about stuff that’s intrinsic to me. My ethnic background, my sexuality – it makes me feel accepted and part of something. It makes me feel like people are comfortable around me and understand my situation. I always try to be humourous about “controversial” topic matters. Every time I see somebody cover their mouths in mock shock and say “oops, shouldn’t say you-know-what in front of the you-know-whos”, I think “oh, grow up”. I’m a very accepting person, so I never have to watch what I say about others and I always speak clearly. I don’t treat people who are different to me as curiousities that you tip-toe around, I welcome them with open arms and open acknowledgement of what makes them who they are. Take an old Muslim pal of mine as an example – I’d frequently get him to describe aspects of Islam to me, which I would then “comically misinterpret” in an attempt to tease him (I treated him as a sort of surrogate little brother). He didn’t think I was particularly amusing, but he liked the way I was so open and forward with him and it helped us bond.

    Ross, on the other hand, said that gay children should be sent into care homes.

    Are you seeing the disparity here? I’m not sure how to make it much clearer than that. Saying “Kazakhstanis drive like this, but Turkmenistanis drive like this” is OK. Saying “let’s lock up all Kazakhstanis” is not.

    I’m sure you’d all be proven hypocrites if you were to be monitored over what jokes you laughed at. Bet there’d be some offensive ones that made you chuckle. But of course, when it comes to the gays, we’re all just victims aren’t we? It can’t possibly be funny, ever (yawn).

    Why are you so sure about that? You think I only have principles when something affects me personally? Of course you do, because you’re a homophobic misanthrope. You wouldn’t trust us as far as you can spit – we’re all the same.

    Toughen up guys, straight people have more respect for those who can laugh at themselves. If you can’t, they think you’re a wimp and hence below them.

    I’m pretty sure that applies to people of all sexualites, y’know. I like the way you place such importance on impressing the straights. If you embarrass your buddies, they might replace you with another tame pet queer, right? You’re always so eager to be accepted as one of them. The thought of being abandoned to rot in this cesspit with the rest of us must terrify you.

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