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BBC defends homophobic slur in 'Gavin and Stacey' Christmas special

"There was no intention to offend viewers."

2020-01-10

Words: Steve Brown

The BBC has defended airing a homophobic slur in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.

In the new episode, Bryn (Rob Byrdon) and Nessa (Ruth Jones) perform a karaoke rendition of 'Fairytale of New York' by The Pogues at their local pub, The Dolphin. 

When reaching the controversial line 'You're a cheap lousy f****t', the homophobic slur wasn't censored and the BBC received more than 800 complaints after the episode was aired.

Now, the BBC has issued a statement defending using the slur saying it was never linked to homosexuality in the song.

They said: “The descent of [the couple in the song’s] relationship is reflected in the increasingly abusive and offensive terms they use to address each other; insults which are intended to reflect the language that such characters might have used in that era. 

“The origin of the word includes a definition which describes it as a contemptuous and antiquated word for laziness, and the author of the song has cited this inference behind his inclusion of that line.

“While the word faggot is now widely acknowledged as having the potential to offend, the song never suggests or implies that this is, or was ever, an appropriate way to address another person, nor does it link it to homosexuality. 

“Nessa and Bryn were seen singing the original lines and we can assure you there was no intention to offend viewers.

"We understand that some people will find it offensive in any context but we also recognise that the song is widely played and enjoyed in its original form.

"Ofcom has previously stated that it feels it is ‘unlikely that audiences would widely perceive [the song] as a serious attempt to denigrate the homosexual community’.”