Manchester based radio presenter Chelsea Spokes and broadcaster Key 103 radio have been found in breach of Ofcom’s broadcasting codes after a popstar was called ‘gay’ in a mocking way. The city (pictured) is home to one of the biggest LGBT communities in the UK.
Spokes, a breakfast presenter on Key 103, was discussing phobias with members of boyband The Wanted when one of the group, Siva Kaneswaran, revealed he had a fear of polka dots.
She quipped, “Polka dots, what the hell? Are you…gay or something? You’re scared of polka dots?!”
The incident happened on October 31st last year which lead to complaints to media regulator Ofcom, who note:
“In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to…discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…sexual orientation).”
Ofcom found Key 103 had breached rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code which covers offensive and harmful broadcasting.
“The presenter was extremely apologetic and in no way set out to deliberately promote certain negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation.” Ofcom said. They note the unintentional nature of the offence and Key 103 are to remind presenters of the broadcasting requirements expected.
Grahame Robertson, from the Manchester-based Lesbian & Gay Foundation told the Manchester Evening News, “Homophobic comments like this are completely unacceptable. As Key 103 broadcasts across Manchester, a diverse city with one of the largest LGBT populations in the country, they should be more aware of the issues of this community.”
Chelsea married fellow DJ Matt Spokes in July 2011, she was previously known as Chelsea Norris at the network. The presenter, according to the station, was ‘mortified’ by the offense the comment may have caused.