Celebrity Big Brother 2014: Ofcom receives over 300 complaints as Channel 5 plans to extend series
Homophobic remarks and the Certificate 18 task have angered viewers
Celebrity Big Brother is facing a possible Ofcom investigation after airing some of the most controversial scenes in the show's history.
Viewer complaints about the Channel 5 reality TV show have reached 342, with the recently-evicted boxer Evander Holyfield’s “gay ain’t normal” remarks generating the most at 98.
The former heavyweight champion was seen arguing with The Apprentice’s Luisa Zissman when she said there should be more openly gay sports stars.
“If you’re born and your legs were turned this way, what do you do? You go to a doctor and get it fixed back right,” he responded.
“Sexist comments” made by N-Dubz’s Dappy have notched up 52 complaints, following a heated discussion about promiscuity broadcast on 11 January.
The rapper told Zissman and model Jasmine Waltz that it was wrong for women to have multiple sexual partners. “I’d rather be a pig than a s**g” he shouted. “Tell me how many men you have slept with in one night – that’s dirty, that’s disgusting.”
Last Sunday’s ’18 Certificate’ task, which saw some of the housemates don PVC bondage attire and attempt to create ‘adult’ footage, sparked 47 calls to Ofcom. After completing the task, playboy Blue singer Lee Ryan, 30, declared: “You think last night was f***ng dirty? You wait.”
Another 40 viewers complained about a hot-tub scene involving Dappy, Zissman and Waltz. The two female housemates were persuaded to kiss in a game of Truth or Dare.
“Ofcom will assess all complaints before making a decision to investigate,” an Ofcom spokesperson told The Independent. “It is unlikely that a decision on whether or not we will investigate will be taken until the end of the series.”
Blue singer Lee Ryan during the Certificate 18 task Despite the complaints, ratings for Celebrity Big Brother have increased to 3.3 million viewers – adding 500,000 to the 2.8 million who watched the start of the last series.
Channel 5 bosses are extending this year's series by an extra weekend, meaning that the final will take place next Tuesday 28 January, rather than Friday 24 as planned. The show usually lasts for around 20 days.
This year's Celebrity Big Brother is not the only series to offend viewers. In 2013, the show received 438 complaints throughout its run, while in 2009, calls to Ofcom totalled 414.
No series has come close to rivalling the 2007 series, however, which sparked a massive 45,159 complaints.
During that memorable run, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty found herself at the centre of a global race row when her housemate, the late Jade Goody, called her "Shilpa Poppadom".
Ofcom ruled that the code of conduct had been breached and statutory sanctions were placed on Channel 4, the show's broadcaster at the time.
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