A popular BBC DJ has been reprimanded over his spoof of gay singer Will Young which the British broadcast regulator, Ofcom, said was “hostile and pejorative” towards gay people.
In the 20 January BBC Radio 1 broadcast, Chris Moyles discussed the birthdays of celebrities with his studio team. During the discussion he told listeners that it was Young’s birthday.
He then imitated Will Young by singing, in an effeminate and high pitched voice, alternative versions of two of the singer’s well known singles.
When singing his alternative version of Evergreen, Moyles broadcast the lyrics: “It’s my birthday, gonna wear my new dress tonight. And I smell nice. I’ve had a shower and I’ve shaved my legs. Going out later, might go to Nob-oooh for dinner.”
During the alternative version of Leave Right Now, Moyles broadcast the lyrics: “Oooh Will Young here, mmmmh. I’m here, it’s Will’s birthday and as the years go by I get more very gay. When you saw me years ago you didn’t know, but now I’m the gayest fella you probably know. Mmm I like to wear a silly hat, I get camper by the hour, oh would you look at the muck in here. I’m Will Young and I’m gay.”
While the BBC said that the audience in general would have been clear that such remarks were not intended to be taken as hostile or derogatory, Ofcom concluded that the comments were clearly based on the singer’s sexuality and therefore capable of giving offence.
Ofcom said it was also particularly concerned that the broadcast of this type of material “may have the potential to encourage listeners, especially children, to discriminate against others because of their or perceived sexual orientation.”
The BBC said that the Controller of Radio 1 had spoken to Chris Moyles and his production team about the matter to remind them that “Radio 1 has a wider leadership role with young audiences around acceptance and tolerance towards sexual orientation.”
In addition, the Controller of Radio 1 wrote to Moyles’ agent to make clear that the material was unacceptable.