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Countdown slammed after contestant gives homophobic slur as answer

Josh Milton August 17, 2021
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Countdown contestant and Anne Robinson

On a recent episode of Countdown, viewers were left in shock after a contestant used a homophobic slur as an answer. (Screen captures via Channel 4/Twitter)

Countdown has suffered stinging criticism for broadcasting a homophobic slur.

A round in the beloved Channel 4 daytime television show asks contestants to spell out words from eight randomly selected letters.

On Monday afternoon (16 August), Countdown hopeful Matt was asked to read aloud his answer from the letters, “A, O, O, E, D, R, P, F, T”, when he began giggling.

His seven-letter answer was a “rude word,” he told host Anne Robinson. “I know [it] is in the dictionary, ‘poofter’,” he said.

Robinson did not react and instead moved the show swiftly on, calling for fellow contestant Roy to reveal his answer: “Proofed.”

Over in the dictionary corner, neither series regular Susie Dent or guest Jeremy Thompson commented on Matt’s answer. They simply mused on “proofed” and offered “footpad” as another potential word.

Countdown viewers enraged contestant ‘cheerfully’ saying homophobic slur

The segment was slammed by Countdown viewers, both stunned that it was aired at all and by the way the show’s hosts merely shrugged it off.

“Sorry to go serious on something quite trivial,” tweeted journalist Scott Bryan, “but as someone who was called a ‘p***fter’ by homophobes on a daily basis, why on earth is Countdown allowing it to be said cheerfully as an answer on daytime television?”

Pointless presenter Richard Osman replied: “Yes, I think, the contestant was embarrassed to be saying it, but in that situation, the easy solution is to all agree he scored seven points and to retake with a different answer.

“We’ve done that a couple of times with ‘correct’ answers.”

He said what happened was an “easy fix and not an uncommon one” as people wondered why it was broadcast at all.

“I don’t think people are insulted,” he added. “I think they would probably just rather not be reminded of a word that was thrown at them for years if there’s a simple alternative.

“I suspect people are just very very tired of it.”

BBC Radio 1 presenter Dean McCullough said: “Immediately not this.”

Writer Adam Kay added:”I don’t think it’s trivial. If the best word someone could come up with is a word in the dictionary that would have the channel taken off the air, I’m sure they’d replay the round.

“Not sure this should be treated as any different.”

Countless Twitter users agreed, with many wondering why Channel 4 did not simply bleep out or reshoot the round without the word altogether.

Channel 4 said in a statement to PinkNews apologising for the “error in judgement”.

“The airing of the word was an error of judgement. It does not align with our values and we apologise for any offence caused,” a spokesperson said.

Related topics: channel 4, homophobic slurs

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