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Key 103 rapped by Ofcom for “Polka dots, what the hell? Are you gay or something?” comment to The Wanted band member

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

January 7, 2013 | 2 min read

Radio station Key 103 has been found in breach of the broadcast code by Ofcom, after it was deemed that a presenter’s outburst “Polka dots, what the hell? Are you gay or something?” could be deemed offensive to the gay community.

The presenter made the comment after it was revealed that a member of band The Wanted was scared of polka dots.

Bauer Media, the owner of the station, said the presenter was ‘extremely apologetic’ and in no way set out to deliberately promote certain negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation.

The Licensee added it was “a throw away comment made without due thought, and that she completely understands the reason it may cause offence”.

Ofcom said that it was concerned that this reference could have reasonably been interpreted by listeners as promoting certain negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation, namely that homosexual people were more likely to be irrational or weak.

It ruled: “Although Ofcom noted that the comment was an off-the-cuff put-down during a light-hearted discussion, we did not consider that this pejorative reference to homosexuality would have been in keeping with the likely expectations of the audience for a programme of this nature. The content was therefore not justified by the context.”

Ofcom Bauer Media

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