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Last Updated: Monday, 5 June 2006, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
BBC homophobia complaint rejected
BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles
Chris Moyles won the entertainment prize at this year's Sony Awards
A complaint the BBC broadcast homophobic material has been dismissed by the corporation's governors.

The complaint objected to Chris Moyles' use of the word "gay" and comments made by US rapper The Game on the Jo Whiley show on BBC Radio 1 last July.

It also cited the effeminate Derek on BBC Two's The Catherine Tate Show.

But BBC governors decided the items "met the required editorial standards and did not demonstrate homophobia".

The complainant also said the BBC did not give gay men and women the same protection as other minorities.

The governors' programme complaints committee - which operates independently of the BBC - acknowledged Chris Moyles' description of a ringtone he did not like as "gay" could cause offence.

But the use of the word "gay" to mean "lame" or "rubbish" was widespread among young people, it said.

"In broadcasting to an audience of predominantly young people, it was to be expected that Chris Moyles would use expressions and words which the listeners used themselves," the committee's report said.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley
Jo Whiley made a "sincere, full and swift" apology
"The committee believed that Chris Moyles, when using the word, had meant no offence to gay people.

"It did, however, feel that it would be advisable to think more carefully about using the word 'gay' in its derogatory sense in the future."

On Jo Whiley's show, The Game caused uproar for calling gay men "faggots" and "not real men".

The governors' committee said: "The Game's comments were very offensive, completely unacceptable and clearly homophobic.

"However, it also noted that the presenter, Jo Whiley, was swift to make a full apology for what had been said and to distance herself and the network from The Game's comments."

Whiley showed "courage and presence of mind" in making a "sincere, full and swift" apology, the committee said.

Stereotypes

"This apology was an appropriate and proportionate response to what had occurred and meant that, taken as a whole, the programme did not breach required programme standards."

The BBC cancelled further interviews with the artist but decided not to ban The Game's music from its airwaves.

The Catherine Tate Show complaint centred around its "overtly effeminate" character Derek, who takes offence when people assume he is gay.

Viewers were invited to laugh at his campness and obvious "gayness", the complainant said.

'Push boundaries'

Derek was an "extreme stereotype" of a gay man, the governors decided - but said humour was often based on stereotypes.

The sketches were supposed to be "funny, not realistic" and the show should not be taken "literally or too seriously", they said.

"The committee agreed that humour does and should challenge and push boundaries," the report said.

"The series was very well received and popular, demonstrating that its challenging material was acceptable to most people."

The committee also rejected the claim that the BBC did not treat sexuality with the same sensitivity as race, saying the same considerations and guidelines would apply in both cases.


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