Monday, October 26, 2009

Recall that Michael Causer - a gay teenager - was murdered in Liverpool last year, and the man who kicked his head in was cleared of all blame by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court. According to witnesses Gavin Alker had used language such as "watch yourself, he's a poof" and "you little queer faggot" (see blog on 17 May 2009). Since then there have been other homophobic attacks, particularly in London, and last night there was a homophobic attack in Liverpool, with the victim, James Parkes, struggling for his life in hospital.

In yesterday's blog I wondered when the BBC will accept that its editorial decisions are often the wrong ones. As Controller of BBC One Jay Hunt is nominally the person responsible for the content of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, and all BBC One programmes. I emailed her a few days ago, on 15 October:-

Dear Jay,

I understand from Editorial Guidelines that when the BBC broadcasts material which risks offending some of its audience you must always be able to demonstrate a clear editorial purpose. The Guidelines also refer to a "responsibility to protect the vulnerable," and mention that "people should only be described in terms of their disability, age, sexual orientation and so on when clearly editorially justified."

As you may be aware, there have been a number of violent attacks on LGBT people over the last few months, and although it would be churlish to blame the BBC for these attacks I don't think it unreasonable to say that much of the BBC's comedy is based on mockery of the LGBT minority. And in that sense the Corporation is not only reflecting the prejudice of society, but also helping to perpetuate it.

Please could you therefore have a word with Jonathan Ross and ask him to desist from the lewd innuendo with which he introduces his house band every week?

Many thanks.

I received a reply from Jay Hunt this afternoon. Jay tells me that Jonathan introduces the house band with "a knowing twinkle in his eye." And furthermore I'm told that his house band savour the moment.

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