Video: BBC Newsnight guest calls Australian cricket team ‘poofters’

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A guest on last night’s BBC Newsnight called the Australian cricket team “poofters” for having dyed hair.

The incident comes after almost 100 people complained to Ofcom over a BBC News broadcast which interviewed the Christian fundamentalist and gay execution supporter Stephen Green over Elton John’s surrogate baby.

During the live Newsnight programme last night, presenter Kirsty Wark interviewed Australian publisher and cricket fan Carmen Callil and comedian Matthew Hardy about their home team’s misfortunes in the Ashes. (Scroll down to see the video)

After calling the Australian team “grossly overweight”, Ms Callil criticised their “blond prickly” hair.

Ms Wark interjected: “Maybe they are entitled to their feminine side when they dye their hair?”

Ms Callil responded: “No, it’s not a feminine side, it’s sort of a poofter side, isn’t it?”

After laughter, Ms Wark said: “Oh my God, Carmen. You may say that, I would never say that.”

The conservation was then swiftly moved on.

Oxford University student Owen Alun John, who complained to the BBC about the comment, told “I was quite taken aback when I heard what Ms Callil said. Hardly the kind of language you expect to hear on TV in 2011, least of all on Newsnight.

“What annoyed me most was that no apology was offered. The word is clearly offensive and just to say sorry would be easy enough; you’d think the BBC would realise that it’s caused quite enough offence to LGBT people this month through its interview with hate preacher Stephen Green.”

A BBC spokesman said: “Kirsty addressed the comment at the time and moved the conversation on.”

On Twitter, Mr Hardy later retweeted the message: “Just spoke to @MrMatthewHardy who was worried how he’d come over on #Newsnight until the woman opposite him said ‘poofter’. It is 2011.”

Last Tuesday, BBC News at Six interviewed the homophobic Christian preacher Stephen Green about Elton John and his civil partner having a surrogate baby.

Mr Green, who has supported the death penalty for HIV-positive gay men, was used to “give an opposing view” on the issue of gay parenting, the BBC said.

The corporation would not say if pro-gay organisations, or even non-extremist Christian groups, had been contacted for comment.