Talksport homophobic comments “highly offensive”

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The broadcasting watchdog has heavily criticised two homophobic outbursts broadcast on talk radio station Talksport – both of them from presenters.

Ofcom said that a bizarre series of comments from Mike Mendoza in May comparing gay people to paedophiles were highly offensive.

The radio station said that Mendoza had been suspended for a week after the incident.

Complaining that footballers had ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ in the search for missing child Madeleine McCann, he said:

“Paedophiles in general are the type of people that surely would not follow football. Not many gay people to the best of my knowledge are great football fans.”

One listener complained.

Ofcom ruled: “Rule 2.3 of the Code requires broadcasters to ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

“The broadcaster did not attempt to justify these offensive remarks by the context – it admitted they were not defensible and apologised.

“We note the broadcaster’s immediate and appropriate action in suspending Mr Mendoza. We nevertheless are very concerned that the presenter chose to make such a remark.

“To connect homosexuality to paedophilia is highly offensive. We therefore regard the broadcast as a breach of Rule 2.3.”

The second breach of the broadcasting code occurred in June when Garry Bushell mocked the assault of human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell at this year’s banned Moscow Pride.

“I would not go to another country and try and impose my views on them, it’s up to them what they do. I think there are a lot of things to put right in this country before you go around preaching the gospel of perversion,” he said.

Talksport tried to claim the remarks were off the cuff. Ofcom did not accept that excuse decided that Rule 2.3 had again been breached.

“We remind the broadcaster that, given these programmes are broadcast live, it is particularly important that its presenters are fully briefed in advance about the potential for certain topics and types of remarks to cause offence to the audience,” said Ofcom.

Last year BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles came under fire from anti-bullying charities for describing a ringtone as ‘gay,’ using the word to mean the same as ‘rubbish,’ on his Radio 1 show.

The BBC refused to apologise for the incident.

He was named Bully of the Year at the Stonewall Awards in November.