One complaint to Ofcom about a remark by a Key 103 presenter has resulted in the station being found in breach of its licence.
A complainant said comments by a presenter during an interview with The Wanted could be considered derogatory towards the gay community.
During the chat, the un-named presenter referred to one band member’s phobia about polka dots: “Polka dots, what the hell? Are you…gay or something? You’re scared of polka dots?!”
Ofcom considered that the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.3 of the Code, which states: “In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to…discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…sexual orientation).”
The Licensee confirmed that the Programme Director picked up on the comment immediately, and called the breakfast team into a meeting following the show. At the meeting the team accepted that the comment made by the presenter could be construed as being derogatory towards homosexual people.
Ofcom reported: “The presenter was extremely apologetic and in no way set out to deliberately promote certain negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation.
“Key 103 added that the remark was “a throw away comment made without due thought, and that she completely understands the reason it may cause offence”.
Station owners Bauer said it was confident that this was an error in judgement which will not occur again in the future, and has since reminded staff to be mindful of the Code requirements, particularly in relation to Rule 2.3.
Ofcom noted the measures the Licensee took after the broadcast to improve compliance in future, but nonetheless concluded that in this instance that the Licensee did not apply generally accepted standards.
Consequently, we concluded that the programme breached Rule 2.3.