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BBC ruling on use of 'gay' extremely concerning - Williams

June 8, 2006 12:47 PM

Liberal Democrat Higher and Further Education Spokesperson, Stephen Williams MP, has written to BBC Chairman Michael Grade following a ruling from the BBC Governors Complaints Committee that Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles could use the term 'gay' to mean 'rubbish' or 'lame' because it is commonplace amongst young people.

Mr Williams is at the forefront of the Liberal Democrat campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in school and organised the Education and Skills Select committee's first ever session discussing bullying including homophobic harassment.

Commenting Mr Williams said:

"I have written to Mr Grade urgently seeking clarification on this extremely concerning ruling.

"The fact that 'gay' is widely used as an insult by young people demonstrates that there is an objectionable tolerance to homophobic abuse in society.

"It would quite rightly be unacceptable to use sexist or racist language in a BBC broadcast, and the same ought to apply to homophobic language.

"After recent research suggesting that gay people are almost invisible on the BBC's flagship channels, the BBC needs to demonstrate its commitment to respecting our society's diversity in its broadcasting."