British Newspapers May Not Refer to Television Hosts As ‘Big Lesbians,’ Press Commission Decides

Clare Balding, the BBC sports present who was described by the London Times‘ AA Gill as “a big lesbian” in his review of her show Britain by Bike, was indeed discriminated against, or whatever, rules the the U.K.’s Press Complaints Commission.

Calling Balding, who is openly gay, a “big lesbian” amounted to a “pejorative synonym relating to the complainant’s sexuality” (duh) and was used “to refer to the complainant’s sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way,” PCC ruled, thus violated the group’s Editors’ Code of Practice. Says PCC director Stephen Abell: “Freedom of expression is a key part of an open society and something which the commission has defended robustly in the past. While the commentator is clearly entitled to his opinion about both the programme and the complainant, there are restraints placed upon him by the terms of the Editors’ Code. Clause 12 is very clear that newspapers must avoid prejudicial, pejorative or irrelevant reference to an individual’s sexual orientation and the reference to Miss Balding plainly breached its terms.”

I’m not sure what the punishment, if any, is for breaching Clause 12, but forcing AA Gill to spend six weeks with a hoard of chavs sounds about right.