Moyles and homophobia – 2

BBC Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt has ‘warned’ breakfast DJ Chris Moyles about ‘homophobia’ and ‘bullying’ on his breakfast show.

The BBC reports Parfitt as saying ‘I made it absolutely perfectly clear to him and everyone at Radio 1 that we don’t condone bullying or homophobia or anything else like that.

‘As long as people work within the rules, then their future’s secure.’

The second part is actually the more interesting. Moyles, like Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross before him, and Kenny Everett before them, is employed exactly because of who he is and what he says. By definition, Moyles is supposed to be at very least sailing close to the wind.

Similarly, John Gaunt was employed because he’s the type of person that would call someone a ‘health Nazi’. Yet his employers at LBC Talksport feigned shock when he did just that, and sacked him.

The problem (for bosses) with ‘edgy’ is that there always has to be a risk of going too far. If one robs Moyles, or Ross, of the ‘what will he say next’ frisson, nothing is left. When Parfitt suggests that everyone works within the rules, he is making obselete the very reason for employing Moyles in the first place.

Moyles and homophobia

Interesting article by Zoe Williams in the Guardian today on Ofcom’s censuring of DJ Chris Moyles for negative gay stereotyping of singer Will Young on the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show.

‘…banning offensive words here and there is pointless. Trying to persuade children, or Moyles, that using “gay” as an insult is unacceptable will just give the whole business more fizz. It never worked for “slag”, which is as current today as it was before feminism was invented (though I believe has been updated from “strumpet”). The more you outlaw words, the more power you give them. It makes you look afeard, and then you’re done for.’

This comes against the background of the defeat in the Commons last night of David Taylor MP’s attempt to insert a ‘free speech proviso’ in current laws on incitement to homophobic hatred. Taylor expressed concern that ‘discussion or criticism of sexual conduct is not caught by the homophobia law’.

As we noted yesterday, Lib Dem MP Evan Harris believes there is already sufficient protection for free expression in homophobic hatred legislation.