R4 rap for floral language

'Pansy' gag deemed unacceptable

The News Quiz has been rapped by broadcasting watchdogs for a gag about the word 'pansy'.

A listener complained to the Broadcasting Standards Commission that the gag, aired on Radio 4 in November, was 'homophobic'.

It came in response to a question about a Royal Horticultural Society report on climate change

The BBC said the word did not mean homosexual, but effeminate, and that "it is not a
straightforward term of homophobic insult in the way others might be, and a good deal gentler than most."

But a panel ruled that the gag, although intended as light-hearted "had gone beyond acceptable boundaries for broadcast".

The complaint was upheld.

The commission also upheld a complaint against a gag made by Jimmy Carr on the Channel 4 gameshow Your Face Or Mine.

When the comic joked that one of the female participants "looked like a man", he was told that if she were, she'd be twice the man he was.

His response - "what, are you saying she has a bigger cock than me?" - prompted the complaint.

Although Channel 4 argued that the comment was " in keeping with the irreverent and quirky tone of the programme," the watchdogs ruled that it had overstepped the boundaries.

However, complaints that Radio 4's Dead Ringers contained inappropriate sexual content, and that a repeat of Chris Morris's Jam on Channel 4 had been offensive with a sketch about a dead baby were both rejected by the commissioners.

Published: 30 Sep 2003

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