BBC rejects claim Stephen Fry 'trivialised' child abuse on QI
The BBC Trust has rejected a complaint that Stephen Fry “trivialised” child abuse during an episode of QI in which he recited a limerick about a chaplain’s desire for a choir boy.
A report by the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) said the broadcast was “at the margins of acceptability” but had not breached editorial guidelines.
During the episode, Fry recited the lines: “There was a young chaplain from King's / Who talked about God and such things / But his real desire / Was a boy in the choir / With a bottom like jelly on springs.”
The ESC report said a woman complained because “she felt that the BBC showed a lack of understanding of what the limerick implied. The complainant said that the limerick trivialised the subject of paedophilia.”
The episode of QI, broadcast on BBC Two on 11 January, was followed by a Newsnight edition focusing on the Jimmy Savile scandal.
The committee said: “The likelihood of causing offence was, we acknowledge, increased by the news agenda on the day of broadcast. However, the comparisons that can be drawn between the scenario described in the limerick and the nature and extent of the abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile are, in our view, limited.”
It also pointed out there was a gap of almost three minutes between Fry's performance and the start of the current affairs show and that “the object of the humour was the hypocrisy of a chaplain, and not the act of paedophilia”.
The committee also said the decision to broadcast the verse was “finely balanced” but “most viewers would not consider the limerick's content strong enough to find a resonance in the Newsnight report”.
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 Kajieme Powell: Missouri police release video footage of second man killed by officers
- 4 Paul Scholes: Manchester United need five experienced players who can turn round a desperate situation
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Laughs go global as Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran bring international comedians to the Edinburgh Fringe
The Top Ten: Horrible buildings
JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story on Pottermore: Introducing 'Singing Sorceress' Celestina Warbuck
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Celebrity Big Brother 2014 line-up: Meet the contestants from Lauren Goodger to Kellie Maloney and Audley Harrison
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women