Moyles faces radio ban after calling women 'dirty whores'

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The Independent Online

Chris Moyles and other Radio 1 DJs have been warned they could be taken off air or fined if they continue to use offensive language, after a spate of complaints.

Ofcom has criticised the breakfast presenter Moyles and the drive-time host Scott Mills for breaching the broadcasting code by swearing and using inappropriate content. The media watchdog, which has received seven complaints against Radio 1 in the past year, warned that if the station continued to break the code, it could face sanctions including a fine of up to £250,000.

Moyles, who was last week cleared by the BBC for using the word "gay" as a synonym for "rubbish", was reprimanded for referring to women as "dirty whores". Mills was reprimanded after a co-presenter made offensive remarks during a wind-up call to a woman whose young son was in the room with her.

Radio 1 has assured Ofcom that it has threatened presenters with a financial penalty if they swear twice within 12 months, and warned that persistent offenders could be taken off the air.

Moyles invited female listeners to send him text messages saying whether they urinated in the shower. When a large number sent texts, he said: "Thank you very much ladies, I shouldn't really say ladies - you all pee in the shower you dirty whores."

Ofcom said: "Although its use was clearly meant to be light-hearted, this is a word which research suggests is found offensive, particularly by women. Its use, while intended to be humorous, was inappropriate for a breakfast programme that attracts a child audience."

Moyles was also criticised over a guest's use of the words "piss" and "twat" during an interview, and for using the word "fucking".

In a wind-up call, Mills's co-presenter telephoned a woman whose partner had nominated her for "revenge" after she mistakenly threw away his football tickets. The co-presenter rang the woman and pretended to be from an after-school club that her son was to attend. He then outlined what he said were the "rules of the club", which included: "Rule 1: I don't take any shit" and "Rule 2, shut the fuck up" and referred to the woman's son as a "little shit". A listener complained, even though the swearing was bleeped.

Ofcom said: "We consider that the ... broadcast resulted from a serious misjudgement. It is the latest in a number of findings against Radio 1."

A spokeswoman for Radio 1 said: "Radio 1 takes Ofcom's findings very seriously. For some months we have been in discussions with Ofcom to ... ensure that Radio 1 meets the standards expected of it."

In the past year, Ofcom has upheld complaints against Zane Lowe and promotions for Radio 1's advice show Sunday Surgery. It also received a complaint about Moyles for referring to a female news presenter as a "slut" and two complaints about Jo Whiley's show, which were all resolved.

His other targets

* HALLE BERRY

The Oscar-winning actress accused Moyles of having a "racist moment" live on air last month when the DJ impersonated a "big, fat black guy" during an interview to promote her new movie X-Men 3. Moyles later dismissed the criticism, calling Berry "ratty" and saying she should "get over herself".

* VICTORIA BECKHAM

On his very first Radio 1 breakfast show in January 2004, Moyles interviewed Beckham and jokingly called her a whore. Referring to her conceiving her first child, Brooklyn, he asked: "Am I right in thinking you weren't married then? You whore." Beckham burst into giggles and admitted she was a "loose woman".

* CHARLOTTE CHURCH

In 2002, Moyles shocked listeners by offering to take the virginity of Church when she turned 16. Their complaints were upheld after he declared on air that he wanted to "lead her through the forest of her sexuality". The BBC said it was "exaggerated fantasy", but Ofcom said it crossed "acceptable boundaries".

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