Was that a dildo?

Ofcom has to decide for Celebrity Juice complaint

It is probably one of the more bizarre decision TV regulators have had to make: whether or not a large pink balloon looked too much like a dildo to be shown pre-watershed.

They had to make the difficult call after ‘a number’ of viewers complained over a trailer for Celebrity Juice.

In a shot that lasted only a second, the rapper Example had the item around his waist, and thrust it towards host Keith Lemon.

It was what had been dubbed a ‘pricket bat’ in a previous episode of the comedy panel show... a gizmo which the guest had to use to pop other balloons.

In response to the complaints, ITV said it was slapstick with a ‘very mild innuendo’ that ‘had no overtly sexual content’

They said: ‘The pricket bat was not a strap-on prosthetic phallus, which might suggest an actual sex toy, nor did we consider that it bore any close resemblance to the anatomical shape of an actual penis. It was clearly a large inflated balloon intended to provoke mildly bawdy humour.’

In a a formal ruling published today, Ofcom said they disagreed, adding: ‘In our opinion, Example wore a strap around his waist from which protruded at the front a pink object which resembled an erect penis.

‘To a number of viewers this could, in the brief shot shown, in Ofcom’s opinion, have reasonably resembled a sex toy. The clip showed Example and Keith Lemon in mid-shot so that the phallic object was unmistakable, and a sexual context was clearly suggested by Example thrusting his pelvis forward.

‘This shot included in the trailer was therefore unsuitable for children.’

The regulators ruled that ITV had therefore broken the section of the broadcasting code designed to protect children from unsuitable material; and even before the decision, the broadcaster promised not to air the shot in any further Celebrity Juice trailers.

Published: 21 Jan 2013

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