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)