BBC 6 Music has today been criticised by media regulator Ofcom over an interview conducted on its afternoon show hosted by Nemone Metaxus with American comedian Doug Stanhope. Stanhope referred to a person with Down’s Syndrome as being “retarded”.
The comedian was referring to one of the children of Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin when he made the remark. Ofcom received a complaint from a listener who also complained that the presenter didn’t do enough to seriously challenge the remarks or apologise to the listeners.
A spokesman for BBC 6 Music said: “The presenter warned listeners to prepare themselves for a vitriolic assault on the senses and that her guest if often described as the standard bearer for extreme American comedy. With this in mind, the BBC argued that the listeners should have been expecting some outspoken and controversial humour to follow. “
In its ruling which stated that the BBC had breached the Broadcasting Code, Ofcom stated: “First, a child with Down’s Syndrome was described as retarded. Second, there was a highly offensive comment which described Down’s Syndrome as a form of punishment by God. Both of these, in Ofcom’s opinion, went well beyond generally accepted standards and the audience’s expectations for this programme.”