Ofcom says GB News host spouting casual homophobia about Gary Lineker is acceptable

Still from GB News' alternative Match of the Day broadcast showing presenter Patrick Christys

TV regulator Ofcom won’t investigate an ‘alternative’ Match of the Day broadcast from right-wing channel GB News that included casual homophobia, no actual football and digs at Gary Lineker, despite hundreds of complaints being made. 

An Ofcom spokesperson told PinkNews that complaints about the episode have been “carefully considered” but they “will not be pursing further action”. 

The watchdog has many legal duties, including ensuring people are protected from harmful or offensive material. However, despite receiving 222 complaints about the GB News segment on 11 March, Ofcom has decided to take no further action. 

During the episode, which aired during Gary Lineker’s short-lived suspension from the BBC, co-host Patrick Christys called Lineker “a rabid lefty” and suggests he must “quite like Brighton because it’s full of rainbow flags and woke people”.

Ofcom said these comments were “freedom of expression” and not an attack on the LGBTQ+ community.

Social media users were quick to express anger at the homophobia present in Christys’ “joke”, with TV critic Scott Bryan writing: “By the way, the ‘alternative’ MOTD on GB News last night criticising Brighton for having ‘rainbow flags’ is homophobia. I can’t spin it any other way.”

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Viewers compared the GB News offering to satirical programme 90s The Day Today – which parodies television news and current affairs shows and features Steve Coogan as his iconic Alan Partridge character.

‘We will not be pursuing further’

Ofcom told PinkNews: “We carefully considered complaints about a comment made by a presenter on this programme.

“We recognise that this remark had the potential to cause offence and understand why it prompted a strong reaction from some viewers.

“However, taking into account the weight we attach to freedom of expression, the likely expectations of a post-watershed audience watching this channel, and given it was a brief, personal observation about an individual, rather than targeted against the wider LGBTQ+ community, we will not be pursuing further.” 

Ofcom will, however, investigate whether GB News broke its rules when presenters Esther McVey and Philip Davies – who are both also Conservative MPs – interviewed Tory chancellor Jeremy Hunt about his budget plan. It received 39 complaints.

It isn’t the first time GB News has been criticised for airing toxic content, as it previously received backlash for airing claims that parents who take their children to a drag queen story hour have “narcissistic personality disorder”.

At the start of this year, the Traitors‘ Amanda Lovett apologised to her “new family” after she was called out for appearing on the channel, following many pointing out some of its presenters are notorious for their anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans views

On 9 March, Press Gazette reported that GB News had made losses 10 times greater than its revenue for its first year on air.

PinkNews has contacted GB News for comment.