Manchester’s Key 103 radio station has been disciplined by Ofcom after one of its breakfast show presenters made a homophobic comment during an interview with boyband The Wanted.
The incident happened on 31 October 2012 at 8:15 in the morning as part of a Halloween special on the station.
During a discussion about phobias, band member Siva Kaneswaran revealed he was scared of polka dots.
In response, presenter Chelsea Norris said: “Polka dots, what the hell? Are you…gay or something?
You’re scared of polka dots?!”
Following one complaint, media regulator Ofcom declared the comment breached Rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code – which governs harm and offence and 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…discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…sexual orientation).”
In its dealings with the station, Ofcom said: “The presenter was extremely apologetic and in no way set out to deliberately promote certain negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation.”
Key 103 added that the remark was “a throw away comment made without due thought, and that she completely understands the reason it may cause offence”.
In its summary, Ofcom noted that Bauer, who operate Key 103 along with London-based stations Kiss and Magic, said it was confident that this was an “error in judgement which will not occur again in the future, and has since reminded staff to be mindful of the Code requirements, particularly in relation to Rule 2.3.”