TV watchdog rejects flood of complaints about ‘Ann Widdecombe homophobia’ on Celebrity Big Brother
Broadcast regulator Ofcom has rejected more than 100 complaints about former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe’s “homophobic comments” on Celebrity Big Brother.
Widdecombe, an extreme opponent of LGBT equality who has spent decades battling equal rights reforms in the UK, took part in Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year alongside drag star Courtney Act and several other LGBT housemates.
The Conservative politician repeatedly clashed with Courtney Act, real name Shane Jenek, on the show over her “homophobic” views.
Widdecombe criticised Jenek’s “lewd” behaviour with fellow housemate Andrew Brady, calling the pair “disgusting” and telling Brady that his mother and grandmother would be ashamed of him for the homoerotic flirtations.
Ofcom has since rejected 128 complaints about “sexual orientation discrimination” in the episode that aired on January 25, in which Widdecombe nominated Brady for eviction, as well as a further nine complaints about homophobia in other episodes.
There were also two complaints in the “Transgender discrimination/offence” category about earlier episodes, likely relating to housemates’ reactions to transgender contestant India Willoughby.
Widdecombe and Janek also clashed when Widdecombe rolled her eyes as the drag star discussed sexuality with housemate Wayne Sleep.
Shane had challenged Ann, saying: “Wayne and I for us as gay men who have been personally and historically mocked by heterosexualised society… what part of your heart is missing?”
Speaking to other contestants, Shane added: “She’s rolling her eyes at much more than just the immediate conversation.
“As much as that’s funny, that’s someone’s grandmother or their mother or someone’s parents disapproving of their gay child.”
Courtney Act eventually took the Celebrity Big Brother trophy, beating Widdecombe into second place.
During her time as an MP from 1987 until 2010, Ann vehemently opposed gay rights – voting to block them at every opportunity.
CBB Bit On The Side host Rylan recently said he faced abuse following the series for his favourable comments about Widdecombe.
He admitted on Loose Women that he had been attacked on social media for his stance towards the 70-year-old former Tory MP.
Recalling some of the online criticism, Rylan confessed he had been labelled “a disgrace to the gay community” by CBB fans.
Emma Willis and Ann Widdecombe (Getty)Rylan, 29, said: “Ann Widdecombe… I’m so… I love the show and I love being there but I’ve never been more happier that this series is over, because every night on Twitter all I got was these people that were either Team Courtney (Act) or Team Ann Widdecombe.
“I’ve been called a disgrace to the gay community for not laying into Ann Widdecombe.
“My thing is if Ann Widdecombe had said or done anything homophobic, racist, whatever, in that house, she would have been pulled straight away and she would have ‘been out of that house.”
While inside the Elstree house, Ann told fellow housemates that she believes same-sex marriage is wrong and the NHS should not prioritise gender confirmation surgery for trans people.
He continued: “I don’t agree with Ann Widdecombe’s views and I’d like to think in this day and age, not a lot of people agree with her views, but she is more than alright to have them.
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“She didn’t force those views on anyone while she was in the house or anything.
“So I treated her like a housemate, like I would any other housemate.
“And do you know what? That’s my job, and I do my job well, and that’s exactly what I did with Ann Widdecombe. I don’t have to agree with what she was saying.”