(G)ay, caramba! Channel 4 censors The Simpsons

Broadcaster admits error over the editing of the word 'gay' at Sunday lunchtime

Is the word “gay” sufficiently offensive to cause viewers to choke on their Sunday lunch? Channel 4 appeared to think so after editing the word out of a weekend repeat of The Simpsons.

The broadcaster has admitted it made a mistake after deciding that a use of the word “gay”, in its homosexual context, was unsuitable for a Sunday lunchtime audience.

The line was cut from a 1994 episode of The Simpsons, called Homer Loves Flanders, which was aired at 12.55pm on Sunday.

Homer goes to an American Football match with Ned Flanders but at first is embarrassed to be seen with his god-fearing neighbour. The pair bond after Ned buys a mountain of food and introduces Homer to the star quarterback.

As they drive away, they pass workmates Lenny and Carl in the car park. Homer proudly yells out of the window: “I want everyone to know that this is Ned Flanders ... my friend!”

In the original episode, Lenny turns to Carl and says: “What'd he say?” Carl replies: “I dunno. Somethin’ about being gay.”

The line plays on the homosexual under-current to Lenny and Carl’s relationship, a long-running Simpsons joke.

However in the Sunday version, Carl’s line was edited out, and the episode abruptly cut to adverts after Lenny said: “What’d he say?”

Channel 4 said that Simpsons episodes broadcast before 6pm are checked by its compliance department for any unsuitable content. In this instance, the compliance checker had been overly-cautious.

A spokesman said: “We always carefully consider the context in which language is used in our programming. However in this instance the episode was edited in error as neither the word nor the context was unsuitable.”

Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, says there is no evidence to conclude that use of the word “gay” is “necessarily and automatically intended to be, or is, offensive.”

It can be offensive when broadcasters, such as Chris Moyles and Jeremy Clarkson, have employed the word in a context that “results in a negative portrayal of homosexual men and women.”

In 2006, Moyles was rapped over the knuckles for using the word “gay” as a synonym for “rubbish” on his Radio 1 Breakfast Show. But Ofcom also acknowledged that the Oxford English Dictionary now recognises a second usage of “gay” to mean “socially inappropriate, or disapproved of and lame”.

Broadcasters are told to restrict usage of “gay” in this context when children are likely to be watching, as it could contribute to bullying.

Last week John Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister, was criticised by gay rights groups for mocking a radio host’s red jacket, suggesting he was a weak golfer because his jacket’s colour was “gay”.

Mr Key told RadioSport presenter Jamie Mackay: “You’re munted mate. You’re never going to make it. You’ve got that gay red top on.”

Mr Key, who voted in favour of gay marriage, said “gay” was “just a slang term” used by young people. He said: “If someone was offended by it then I apologise but it’s not exactly like a term you don’t hear everywhere”.

Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the New Zealand-filmed Lord of the Rings franchise, said Key “should watch his language.” The actor said: “I’m currently touring secondary schools in UK, attacking homophobia in the playground and discouraging kids from the careless use of 'gay' which might make their gay friends (and teachers) feel less about themselves.”

Rowan Atkinson is lobbying for the repeal of section 5 of the Public Order Act, which makes it an offence to use insulting words or behaviour and once resulted in the arrest of a student who called a police horse “gay”.

In 2006, Sam Brown was arrested for making homophobic remarks and spent the night in a cell after he suggested that a police horse was “gay”. The CPS decided that there was not enough evidence and it dropped the case.

In stark contrast to Channel 4’s act of “gay” self-censorship, Ofcom yesterday criticised the broadcaster for airing a dating show, Love Shaft, which featured contestants talking about “massive tits”, “slut” and “part-time slut”, in a morning slot when young children were likely to be watching.

Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
News
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
people
News
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower