talkSPORT has been found in breach of Ofcom rules after presenter Mike Mendoza linked pedophiles with gay people in a comment about footballers supporting the Madeleine McCann campaign. In a separate incident, the station has been rapped for discussion which linked homosexuality to perversion.
The national sports station immediately suspended Mendoza for a week following the complaint. The actual words used by the presenter follow:
[blockquote]The other thing that has really got up my nose over the last couple of days…and again you might like to comment on this…are the footballers…and I'm including David Beckham on this one ‘cause he's jumped on the bandwagon today, and that's exactly what they've done. Footballers yesterday jumping on the bandwagon to beg whoever it is that has taken Madeleine McCann away, whoever has grabbed her, to give her back…now you tell me, paedophiles in general are the type of people that surely would not follow football…not many gay people to the best of my knowledge are great football fans.[/blockquote]
The broadcaster said that the statements made had been indefensible. It had spoken to the presenter who accepted that he had been wrong to make them.
Ofcom took the complaint very serious, and highlighted the fact that the presenter did not attempt to justify the offensive remarks by context.
Separately, the Football First programme strayed into a discussion about recent gay rights demonstrations in Moscow. A presenter, who has not been named by Ofcom, said: “I would not go to another country and try and impose my views on them, it’s up to them what they do. I think there are a lot of things to put right in this country before you go around preaching the gospel of perversion”. Ofcom noted that there was some attempt by his co-presenters to challenge what he had said, but the discussion quickly moved on to football topics.
A second breach of Rule 2.3 followed, with Ofcom officially reminding the broadcaster that it is particularly important that its presenters are fully briefed in advance about the potential for certain topics and types of remarks to cause offense to the audience.
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