Ofcom slams Clarkson’s gay car comment
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been criticised by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom for using homophobic cockney-rhyming slang to describe a car.
The BBC’s head of editorial complaints conceded that his comments about the Daihatsu Copen in a programme broadcast last year were capable of causing offence.
Clarkson, who also writes columns for tabloid newspapers, asked a member of the audience if he would buy the car, to which he replied “no, its a bit gay.”
The presenter then said “A bit gay, yes, very ginger beer.”
Ofcom decided that the use of the word ‘gay’ could mean foolish or stupid, according to the dictionary.
But they went on to criticise the presenter’s comments:
“In this edition of Top Gear, the presenter’s use of a Cockney rhyming phrase made clear he intended to give a particular meaning to use of the word ‘gay.’
“This, in Ofcom’s opinion, meant that the use of the word became capable of giving offence.
“In the context, there was no justification for using the word in this way.”
No further action will be taken as the BBC has already admitted it caused offence.
In July the corporation defended Clarkson’s comments. A spokesman told GaydarRadio:
“The Top Gear team’s irreverent sense of humour in their car reviews and exchanges with the studio audience is familiar to the programme’s regular audience.
“The intention is to be cheeky and sometimes provocative, but not malicious.”
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The Times reports that Clarkson compounded his homophobic image by commenting on the BBC’s decision by saying: “It wasn’t a gay car – it was actually a bit lesbian.”
Last June Chris Moyles’ came under fire from anti-bullying charities for describing a ringtone as ‘gay,’ using the word to mean the same as ‘rubbish,’ on his Radio 1 show.
The BBC refused to apologise for the incident.
He was named Bully of the Year at the Stonewall Awards in November.
BBC governors backed the DJ saying the items “met the required editorial standards and did not demonstrate homophobia.”
The independent committee recognised Moyles’ comments may have caused offence, but said the use of the word “gay” to mean “lame” or “rubbish” was widespread amongst young people.