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Gavin and Stacey special hit with 900 complaints despite BBC’s feeble attempt to defend homophobic slur

Patrick Kelleher January 10, 2020
Gavin and Stacey

Bryn and Nessa performing the controversial song (BBC/YouTube)

Almost 900 people have submitted an official complaint over the use of a homophobic slur in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.

In the episode, Nessa (Ruth Jones) and Bryn (Rob Brydon) sang a karaoke version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ – but the show’s creators came under fire over the uncensored inclusion of the line: “You scumbag you maggot, you cheap lousy f****t, happy Christmas your arse I pray God it’s our last.”

The BBC has now confirmed that it received 866 complaints over the use of the homophobic slur in the Christmas Day episode, Metro reports.

The BBC has repeatedly defended the inclusion of the homophobic slur in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.

The complaints will likely come as a disappointment to the BBC as officials have repeatedly defended the use of the slur in the episode since it aired over two weeks ago.

Officials doubled down on their defence in a lengthy statement released yesterday (January 9) in which they claimed the word “f****t” is actually an “antiquated word for laziness.”

“‘Fairytale of New York’ is a well-established, much-loved Christmas song which tells the story of a troubled couple in 1940s New York,” the statement said.

We understand that some people will find it offensive in any context but we also recognise that the song is widely played and enjoyed in its original form.

“The descent of their relationship is reflected in the increasingly abusive and offensive terms they use to address each other; insults which are intended to reflect the language that such characters might have used in that era.

“The origin of the word includes a definition which describes it as a contemptuous and antiquated word for laziness, and the author of the song has cited this inference behind his inclusion of that line.

“While the word ‘faggot’ is now widely acknowledged as having the potential to offend, the song never suggests or implies that this is, or was ever, an appropriate way to address another person, nor does it link it to homosexuality.”

The spokesperson continued: “Nessa and Bryn were seen singing the original lines and we can assure you there was no intention to offend viewers. We understand that some people will find it offensive in any context but we also recognise that the song is widely played and enjoyed in its original form.

Ruth Jones said they included the slur to remain ‘true to the characters.’

“Ofcom have previously stated that they feel it is ‘unlikely that audiences would widely perceive [the song] as a serious attempt to denigrate the homosexual community’.”

The show’s co-creator Jones and the BBC have been defending the inclusion of the homophobic slur since before the episode even aired.

In an interview with The Sun, published on December 24, Jones said they included the word “f****t” because they wanted to remain “true to the characters.”

“Characters in Gavin & Stacey are kind and big-hearted, I believe. So I think no one is going to be intentionally hurtful.

“But by the same token, they’re not necessarily going to be completely politically correct or be aware of political correctness,” she added.

More: Fairytale of New York, Gavin and Stacey, homophobic slur

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