Sunshine Radio in breach for Sam Smith comments
British station Sunshine Radio has been found in breach of the Broadcasting Code after comments were made about Sam Smith on the breakfast show.
Presenter Paul Ellery, who has since resigned from the station, made a comment about Smith after coming out as non-binary. Ofcom began an investigation after one person complained.
Sunshine described the program as a live, unscripted “one-man show” and stated that there was no production team or “backroom staff” involved in its broadcast.
The licensee said that the comment about Smith’s gender was part of a “throw-away short link” and was not intended to offend listeners.
However, it added that after reviewing the program, the presenter’s view was that his comment was “misjudged” and had the potential to have caused offence.
Sunshine said Ellery would not have deliberately sought to offend the LGBT community. It added that Ellery had undertaken compliance and legal training and daily review meetings.
Ofcom, however, said the comments had the potential to cause offence as they sought to ridicule
Smith’s non-binary status.
In addition, by referring to Smith using the incorrect pronoun, the presenter appeared to ignore and undermine Smith’s publicly stated gender identity.
The regulator added that, although brief, the comments were not justified by the context in which they were broadcast, which may have limited the potential for offence to some extent.
“The tone of the presenter’s comments was mocking, dismissive and flippant towards Sam Smith’s announcement that they were identifying as non-binary,” Ofcom added