media crit

Ask a Homophobe: BBC Wants to Know If Bigots Think the Broadcaster Is Too Gay-Friendly

As a way to follow up its awesomely terrible “web debate” over whether gay Ugandans should be executed, the BBC has a new project regarding homosexuals: Asking the people who hate them to grade the media giant on its coverage of gays. Oh this should be good.

“On-screen talent, humour, language, tone and stereotyping” of LGBTs are at the center of a new BBC research project, which is polling some 28 different demographic groups, including gays and lesbians, ethnic minorities, and yes, homophobes. Awesome!

The three-part project will begin with a qualitative research study (in-depth interviews), which will help determine the questions for a follow-up quantitative survey (a larger number of multiple-choice interviews) in a few months. Finally, the BBC also wants members of the public to contribute via a public consultation website.

The qualitative study will cover 28 different audience sectors, including gay, lesbian and bisexual people, but also ethnic and religious groups, with some respondents expected to express homophobic views.

A specialist market research group has been hired by the BBC to reach members of the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities and is even approaching counsellors to help it recruit people who would be otherwise difficult to reach.

“We’re doing it because, as a public service broadcaster, we have a responsibility to serve all of our audiences and it’s vital that we reflect the differences among all of the UK’s diverse communities, nations and regions,” said Tim Davie, the BBC head of audio and music. Davie is heading the project as part of his role on the corporation’s diversity board.

It’s unclear what the BBC will do with the data, aside from making it available to other broadcasters. Might they introduce more gay characters on EastEnders? Turn Torchwood into an episodic bisexual orgy? Start attaching the definitional meaning of “rubbish” to other words besides “gay,” like “fag,” “homo,” and “fudgepacker”? Give the mostly repulsive radio host Chris Moyles his own 24-hour channel? Or maybe, in a perfect world, they’ll demand weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker permanently ditch his suit for these track shorts.

(Pictured: EastEnders boyfriends Christian Clarke and Lee Thompson share a smooch)

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  • Mike L

    I like the last option. Ditch the suit and bring out the track shorts.

  • jason

    It should be known as the British Bigots Corporation. Asking homophobes what they think about gay coverage is akin to asking the Ku Klux Klan what it thinks about coverage of blacks.

    The BBC with its bureaucratic bigots just doesn’t get it.

  • dizzy spins

    The BBC isnt bigoted–its actually rather left-leaning (in some cases too far left). But i think they’re freaking out about the influx of foreigners and Muslims into Britain.

    The network is comprised of lily-white prep-school elitists who’ve never experienced diversity first hand, so they assume the best way to appease ethnic and religious minorities is to cater to the lowest-common denominator. The Beeb is probably losing ratings and figures making their programming more like Fox will pull in the rabid right-wingers, who are a devoted demographic.

    I can understand looking at the bottom line, but lets not pretend its about “reflecting the differences among all of the UK’s diverse communities”

  • jason

    The problem with left-leaning bureaucrats – such as those at the BBC – is that they bend over backwards to appear to be “fair”. They lack a moral compass, and thus feel compelled to compensate by providing a forum for “all points of view”. Therefore, they tolerate the intolerant.

    Another thing about left-leaning bureaucrats at the BBC is that they are in love with the idea of different cultures. They forget that these cultures are often extremely homophobic and violent. I mean, just look at Uganda.

  • Tallskin

    Yeah the BBC based the idea of a survey on the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX surveys.

    Oh what’s that you say? There hasnt been a US survey of gay attitudes towards their representation on the TV.

    Oh yes, that’s right. There hasn’t has there.

    The religious scream and shout in the US and gay issues are dropped.

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    British policies and gay-friendly media is way ahead of the U.S. Having said that, British attitudes toward gays are much more hostile, especially from the influx of uneducated, religious zealots who have as much contempt for Britain as they do Gays. In America, the media acts like we don’t exist unless it’s a fashion report or palatable Ellen, or measured equal coverage against a mob of catatonic Christians holding signs which Scream “God Hates Fags”. Many Larger US cities are easier for Gays to walk around than in London who may suffer the fate of ganged hooligans. BBC is a slow-paced news service like PBS in America and ABC in Australia – all networks that pat themselves on the back at how liberal they are when in fact, they rarely challenge orthodoxy and dance around serious social issues with PC blinders. Many more educated Brits get their “news source” from ‘The Daily Show with John Stewart’ like Americans and Australians turn to similar news parody shows.

  • Bryony

    Um, sorry, but if you read it, they’re actually doing a survey of their whole audience with some people expected to express homophobic views. That doesn’t mean they’ll pander to them. The default position for any major organisation in the UK, including the BBC, is to be gay-friendly. They may not always succeed (as Chris Moyles shows), but they can’t afford to let things go backwards.

  • Rob Moore

    @Tallskin: You are so right about that. Do you remember the uproar over the program the Book of Daniel? It was a good show, but having a minister with a gay son who is also shown in a bed with another man sent the nut-cons into a state of apoplexy. The network caved like a bad soufflé.

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