Brand's 'hymen' gets the OK

262 complaints rejected

Russell Brand has been let off the hook after more than 250 outraged viewers complained about his hosting of the Brit awards.

Complaints that his jokes about drugs, Iraq and intimate body parts were unsuitable for prime-time ITV1 have been rejected by watchdogs Ofcom.

They ruled that February’s live broadcast did not breach broadcast rules about not encouraging drug use nor including other adult content when children might be watching - despite attracting 262 complaints who felt that the music awards, which started at 8pm, were aimed at a young audience.

The regulators decided two specific segments were worthy of investigation – one short routine about Robbie William’s admission to rehab, and Brand’s statement that it was ‘time to find out who has pierced the hymen of awareness to ejaculate success into the uterus of popular culture’.

ITV admitted this was ‘clearly a reference to sexual activity’ which would not be to everyone’s taste, but said it was ‘appropriately and sufficiently limited and inexplicit… essentially abstract, and employed anatomical rather than colloquial terms in an elaborate comic metaphor which many younger viewers would not have understood’.

Ofcom agreed that it wouldn’t have upset the Brits audience, and ruled in ITV’s favour.

In reference to Williams, Brand said: ‘Oh them bloody drugs. Curse them drugs they’re everywhere. What about the rumours David Cameron smoked drugs as a schoolboy? What worries me most is that he dressed up as a schoolboy to do it, the pervert. Though perhaps, let’s not condemn him regardless. Who among us didn’t smoke just a little bit of weed at school, just to take the edge off those irksome crack come-downs? Actually, as it turns out, it’s about as good an anti-drugs campaign as you’re going to get, don’t take drugs you might end up leader of the Tories with a face like a little painted egg.’

ITV successfully argued these ‘hyperbolic’ comments did not glamorise, condone or encourage drug abuse, and the reference to crack was clearly ironic and did not seriously suggest that children should take drugs at school.

In its ruling, Ofcom said: ‘We understand that some viewers found the comments offensive, but on balance we have concluded there was no breach of the Broadcasting Code.’

ITV aired the show with a 30-second time delay so they could edit our any unsuitable comments or strong language used by performers, presenters or award winners.

Published: 4 Jun 2007

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