Broadcaster Gaunt loses appeal overon-air 'Nazi' gibe

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The Independent Online

The broadcaster Jon Gaunt, who called an interviewee a "Nazi" on air, lost an appeal yesterday against a High Court ruling that the media watchdog Ofcom was justified in upholding complaints against him.

Gaunt's contract was terminated in November 2008 by TalkSport, 10 days after an exchange with Redbridge councillor Michael Stark.

During a hearing last month, the Court of Appeal was told that Gaunt's live interview with Mr Stark about Redbridge Council's decision to ban smokers from becoming foster parents – for which he later apologised – drew 53 complaints from listeners.

Mr Stark said the welfare of children should outweigh the needs of foster families but Gaunt, who was himself in care, accused the councillor of being a "Nazi", a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig".

Last summer, Gaunt challenged Ofcom's June 2009 finding that the interview failed to comply with the broadcasting code, but the High Court backed Ofcom.

Three Court of Appeal judges yesterday rejected his appeal against the High Court's decision.

Giving the ruling of the court, the Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, said: "When one combines the extremely aggressive tone of the interview, the constant interruptions, the insults, the ranting, the consequent lack of any substantive content, and the time which the interview was allowed to run on, it seems to me clear that Ofcom was right to conclude that there had been a breach of ... the code."

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