Talksport suspends Gaunt for Nazi jibe

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The Independent Online

He is one of the country's most famous shock-jocks, notorious for his right-wing views, abrasive style and refusal to pull any punches in the fight against political correctness. But this time, Jon Gaunt has gone too far.

The Talksport radio presenter has been suspended after he called a Conservative councillor a "Nazi" and an "ignorant pig" during a debate, sparking listener complaints.

Gaunt, known to his fans as Gaunty, made the comments during his regular phone-in show on Friday. He was interviewing councillor Michael Stark, who was defending Redbridge Council's decision to ban smokers from becoming foster parents.

The presenter later tried to tone down his remarks by rebranding Mr Stark a "health Nazi" but at the end of the show he was forced to make an on-air apology to his guest, and was subsequently suspended by the station pending an investigation.

A Talksport spokesman said the station had received a number of complaints about the content and nature of the broadcast. "Talksport has taken the decision to suspend Jon Gaunt whilst the matter is investigated. When we have all the facts at our disposal, we will take whatever action, if any, that we deem appropriate."

Gaunt, who has strong feelings on the subject of child welfare, having spent his early teens in a care home, had written of his fury about the council's decision in his column for The Sun newspaper. Published on Friday before the radio show, it too contained Nazi references.

He wrote: "This is the same warped logic that condemns black children to a life in care rather than let them be fostered by white couples. The same master race philosophy that forbids fat couples from adopting.

"The SS – that is social services by the way – think the risk from passive smoking is more dangerous to a child than them being left to rot in a children's home.

"Today it's Redbridge but, unless we all make a noise now, tomorrow it will be a national policy and thousands more children will fall victim to the health and safety Nazis and be left in a home alone."

Gaunt was unavailable for comment but his agent, Nick Canham, told The Independent that he found the extent to which his client's views had been misinterpreted "bizarre".

He said: "All Jon is willing to say at the moment is that he welcomes the investigation, because ultimately all he's saying is that he believes in getting the best for the children. That's the point of the debate. He probably didn't put it in the correct terms ... but he was just trying to say we've got to give the kids the best for their future."