Feeds

Ofcom rules on Clarkson strumpet gag

No breach of broadcasting code

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Ofcom has ruled that Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was not in breach of the broadcasting code for a quip he made on the show alluding to lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.

Clarkson, 48, was "taking part in a lorry-driving task" during the 2 November pre-watershed show when he said: "Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."

The gag prompted 339 outraged viewers to complain to the watchdog, and Ipswich Labour MP Chris Mole quickly weighed into the controversy by demanding Clarkson be sacked.

However, having considered the matter under the code's Rule 2.3 (material that may cause offence must be justified by the context), Ofcom has concluded that "given the intent of the comment, the context of the programme and the time of broadcast ... the broadcast of this material was justified by the context".

The adjudication elaborates: "On this occasion, Ofcom accepts that the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson could shock some viewers. However, Ofcom did not believe the intention of the comments could be seen to imply that all lorry drivers murder prostitutes, nor would it be reasonable to make such an inference. In Ofcom’s view, the presenter was clearly using exaggeration to make a joke, albeit not to everyone’s taste. The comments should therefore been seen in that context.

"It is often the case that humour can cause offence. To restrict humour only to material which does not cause offence would be an unnecessary restriction of freedom of expression. However, in transmitting potentially offensive material, broadcasters must ensure that they apply generally accepted standards.

"Ofcom considered that the large majority of the audience would have understood the comments as being made for comic effect, and were in keeping with what would normally be expected from this presenter in this particular programme."

The BBC earlier responded to the complaints by issuing a statement which read: "This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate, and make ridiculous, an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.