BRFM in trouble for offensive gay comments
South Wales community radio station BRFM has been found in breach of the broadcasting code for comments made on a rock and roll show.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to a comment which they felt was offensive. It was made by the presenter, Dai Haywood, about gay and bisexual people: “Just been talking to Graham about the way, the way the world is going with everybody being bis and gays and, well they say: like Betty was saying; there won’t be no midwives 20 years from now, midwives will be a thing of the past.
‘Cause my granddaughter’s hoping to become a midwife, and funny I only said to her yesterday you’ll be redundant by the time you’re 40, with all the gay people around. There’ll be no reproduction going on. But Betty did say they’d be opening two new factories in Blaenau: they’ll be for blow up, male blow-up dolls and the other will be a dildo factory. So there will be work around!”
Ofcom came to the conclusion that the general tone of the presenter’s remarks was likely to have been interpreted as an implied attack on homosexual and bisexual people, presenting their increased numbers as a threat to society. The regulator considered that these pejorative references to sexual orientation had the potential to cause serious offence to listeners.
When asked about the content by Ofcom, BRFM expressed its “deepest apologies” for the broadcast. It added that the presenter was a volunteer and had apologised “sincerely” for his remarks. BRFM also stated its belief that the presenter had been encouraged to make his comments by two listeners to the programme.
Nonetheless, it added that there was “no excuse” for the broadcast of these comments.
The Licensee said that as soon as it became aware of the incident, it suspended the presenter with immediate effect and after further discussions, confirmed that the presenter would no longer be involved with the station.
BRFM said that it had issued an on-air apology for any offence that may have been caused by the comments and also held a meeting with its presenters and volunteers to “reiterate the code of conduct and the responsibility to the organisation of presenters”.
The Licensee highlighted its good compliance record and submitted that although it could not defend the presenter’s remarks, as the programme was live the comments would have been difficult to prevent.
Ofcom noted that the comments were made during a live music programme and therefore the comments were unlikely to have been planned or scripted. However, at
no other point in the programme was the topic of sexual orientation discussed, and nor were the presenter’s highly offensive references to homosexual and bisexual people challenged or otherwise contextualised.