Wednesday, June 07, 2006

BBC clears itself of homophobia (again)

After looking into a complaint about homophobia the BBC has concluded that it is not guilty.

The complainant had argued that the BBC allowed homophobic material to be included in its transmissions, listing three specific examples: The Chris Moyles show, Jo Whiley's show and the Catherine Tate show.

Whilst I believe the BBC had a reasonable defence in the cases of Catherine Tate, and a strong defence case for Jo Whiley, this still leaves Chris Moyles.

The complaint was about Chris Moyles dismissing a ring tune by saying "I don’t want that one, it’s gay." The complainant argued that using the word 'gay' in this context was clearly derogatory and that the presenter 'unthinkingly' used a word in a way he should not have done.

I would like to believe that Chris used the word 'unthinkingly' and not deliberately as a part of an image. The prime use of 'gay' in a derogatory sense is amongst children who mostly grow out of it in secondary school, especially if they're sensible enough to understand the offence it might cause. The BBC said "it would be advisable to think more carefully about using the word 'gay' in its derogatory sense in the future." The BBC Diversity Centre confirms that this type of offensive language is wrong and should never be used.

If the governors' recommendation is to mean anything at all, it must surely mean that the BBC will be less prepared to excuse future lapses by Moyles, as well as other radio and tv presenters. BBC presenters are paid huge sums of money, and for their salaries it's not too much to ask that they remember not to perpetuate prejudice against a section of British society. I have asked Mr Moyles whether he'll try to keep to the governors' recommendation.

The BBC said in its decision that it aims "to reflect fully and fairly all of the United Kingdom’s people and cultures in our services." However if this were true Newsround would be lgbt inclusive. What about a report from the Pride March this year? After all, every August bank holiday Newsround covers the Notting Hill Carnival (2002 2003 2004 2005) which is just a festival with people wearing outrageous costumes. So what's the difference? Are some people more equal than others?

Newsround could also use the opportunity to report Pride from around the UK - there are separate events during the summer in most big towns - here are just a few of them Belfast, Brighton, Cardiff, Glasgow and EuroPride '06 in London.

No comments: