Big Brother "Poof" Row - Channel 4 Double Standards
TV bosses treat homophobia differently from racism.
London - 6 July 2007
"Channel Four is guilty of double standards and bias. It doesn't take homophobic language as seriously as racist language," said Peter Tatchell, spokesperson for LGBTI human rights group OutRage!
He was commenting on the Big Brother TV series controversy over the use of the word "poof" by housemate Laura.
"Emily was evicted for using the word n*gger, but Laura received a mere ticking off for using the word poof.
"The context and manner in which both words were spoken was fairly similar. They were not expressed in a hateful or angry way. But Channel Four has responded very differently. Emily was ousted from the Big Brother house, while Laura is still inside - despite using the word poof not once, but three times.
"Channel Four is operating different rules for racism and homophobia. It takes racial insults much more seriously. This is probably because TV bosses know the black community is better organised and will kick up more of a fuss. They calculate that much of the gay community is weak, passive and complacent. They think gays and lesbians will accept being subjected to different interpretations of the guidelines on offensive language.
"It is doubtful that Emily or Laura should have been disciplined. Neither woman seems to have used these words in a deliberately abusive manner. Context, tone and intention are crucial factors to consider when deciding whether the use of a particular word is prejudiced and deserving of punishment.
"The double-standards adopted by Channel Four prove that gay people are still treated as second class citizens. Despite many positive advances in gay rights over recent years, the gay community is still not deemed worthy of the same treatment as our black brothers and sisters. There is only one word for it: homophobia," said Mr Tatchell
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