BBC defends ‘gay car’ comment

The BBC has again been forced to defend one of its big name presenters following the recent furore surrounding the controversial use of the word gay by Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles.

On Sunday’s Top Gear programme, presenter Jeremy Clarkson asked an audience member if he would buy a certain car, the audience member said, “No, it’s a bit gay.”

Clarkson then backed it up by saying “a bit gay, yes very ginger beer” which is cockney rhyming slang for queer.

Speaking on digital radio station Gaydar Radio, a BBC spokesperson said: “The Top Gear team’s irreverent sense of humour in their car reviews and exchanges with the studio audience is familiar to the programme’s regular audience. The intention is to be cheeky and sometimes provocative, but not malicious.”

However these comments are unlikely to quell the mounting anger and frustration being directed at the corporation, with many perceiving the BBC governors’ refusal to act on such comments as a sign of blatant homophobia.

Stonewall, the organisation working for equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, has been outraged that the BBC has still not apologised for what has happened.

A Stonewall spokesperson told Gaydar Radio, “It seems that once again the BBC is pandering to this kind of prejudice and just because children use this language in the playground it doesn’t give license to people like Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Moyles to use it when it causes so much offence to so many gay and lesbian people.

“I think an apology is due to be honest and we know from Stonewall’s media monitoring that people let us know when things offend them and it’s time the BBC took this in hand and really gave out direction to their presenters to not use offensive language in the same way that they wouldn’t use racist or sexist language, then they shouldn’t use homophobic language either.

In the wake of Moyles’ comments earlier this month, David Muniz, Commercial Director of Gaydar, wrote a letter to Ofcom expressing his dismay at the BBC for sanctioning the derogatory use of the word gay. There will now be increased pressure on the regulator to act following these latest comments from another high profile BBC Presenter.

Stonewall marched with placards demanding the dismissal of Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles at EuroPride after he recently used the word gay in a derogatory way to describe a ring tone.

A spokesman from Stonewall told “Chris Moyles is not helping young LGBT people struggling to come out through his comments.”

A study by the charity last February found that gays and lesbians are rarely featured positively by the BBC.

Last month The Pink News revealed that communications regulator Ofcom is planning to research how terminology referring to sexuality is used in broadcasting.