Channel 4 has been cleared over this summer’s Big Brother race row.
Media watchdog Ofcom ruled that the broadcaster was right to show student Emily Parr using the word ‘n****r’ because the programme made clear that her comment was offensive and unacceptable.
Ofcom also rejected viewer accusations of double standards over Channel 4’s decision to evict Emily while keeping in a housemate who used ‘homophobic’ language.
Laura Williams twice used the term’ poof’ on the show, but the first comment went unchallenged and the second earned her only a reprimand in the Diary Room.
Emily’s comment and subsequent departure prompted 450 complaints to Ofcom, while Williams attracted a further 200.
A number of viewers complained that the word ‘poof’ is just as offensive to gay people as ‘n****r’ is to black people.
But in a ruling, Ofcom cleared the programme of discrimination and double standards, adding that ‘poof’ presented some difficulties for regulators.
“In our view, it is not possible or appropriate at present to establish definitively the degree of offence use of the word ‘poof’ can cause in all contexts,” the watchdog said.
“For example, it is clear that within the gay community itself, the word ‘poof’ can be used in a playful, affectionate or self-deprecating way.
“This is evidenced, for example, by the use of the word in Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, with its resident band Four Poofs and a Piano.”