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Channel 4 apologises after broadcasting homophobic slur on Countdown

The contestant appears uncomfortable at using the word and says he thought it would be edited out.

2021-08-18

Words: Alastair James; picture: Channel 4

Channel 4 has apologised after a homophobic slur was broadcast during an episode of Countdown.

The word - p*****r - was not edited out after it was volunteered by a contestant on the long-running quiz show.

Many criticised the programme online following the broadcast, asking why it hadn’t been removed.

"I thought it might be edited differently"

During one round, host Anne Robinson asked contestant Matt Gould, from Whitley Bay, what word he had. Gould, who seemed uncomfortable - and recognised that it was a “rude word” - then said what it was.

His competitors had ‘proofed’ and ‘footpad’ from the same letters.

Posting a clip of the show on Twitter, TV critic Scott Bryan said: “As someone who was called a "p**fter" by homophobes on a daily basis why on earth is Countdown allowing it to be said cheerfully as an answer on daytime television?”

Bryan accepted that the word is in the dictionary and therefore is ‘correct’, but argued that the word is akin to the ‘f-word’ and that people who had been homophobically abused would find it difficult to hear such words being said so openly on national TV.

He added: “The amount of people saying 'it is only a word,' I'm pretty sure it was only a word back in the classrooms back then too. yet it feels the same.”

Matt Gould, the contestant who offered the word, agreed that the segment should have been cut out. He’s quoted by Huff Post as saying: “I apologise for my part in this. I thought it might be edited differently.

“At the time I said ‘I have an inappropriate 7 that I know is in the dictionary or a riskier 7 that I’m less sure about’. I thought that bit would be reshot with a non-offensive 7 letter word.”

In a statement, Channel 4 apologised and said: “The airing of the word was an error of judgement. It does not align with our values and we apologise for any offence caused.”

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