Belfast Telegraph

Celebrity BB spared watchdog probe

Media watchdog Ofcom will not investigate the latest series of controversial reality show, Celebrity Big Brother, despite receiving thousands of complaints about it.

There were 2,736 complaints about the Channel 5 show, including 715 about Perez Hilton's "sexualised behaviour", 480 about his "threatening behaviour" and 262 about "racially offensive language" when Ken Morley repeatedly used the word "negro".

An Ofcom spokesman said: " Ofcom carefully assessed a number of complaints about this series of Celebrity Big Brother and has decided they do not raise issues warranting further investigation under our rules.

"We were satisfied Channel 5 had broadcast clear and appropriate warnings about the potentially offensive content, and that it intervened in heated exchanges and situations at appropriate times. We also took into account audience expectations for this reality format and the fact that the series was broadcast after the watershed".

Ofcom also received complaints about the way Morley and another contestant, Katie Hopkins, were treated when they subsequently appeared on ITV's Loose Women to discuss the show.

The spokesman said: " Ofcom carefully assessed complaints about the way Ken Morley and Katie Hopkins were treated by panellists during these episodes of Loose Women. We decided that the complaints did not raise issues warranting further investigation under our rules.

"The show often features heated exchanges between guests and controversial topics. In our view, the behaviour of the panellists was in keeping with the programme's well-established format."

This year's series of Celebrity Big Brother was dogged by controversy with Morley, singer Alexander O'Neal and former Baywatch actor Jeremy Jackson all leaving the house unexpectedly.

Morley, 72, was evicted for using "unacceptable language", O'Neal quit following a series of heated exchanges with Hilton and Jackson, 34, was booted out after former Page Three girl Chloe Goodman claimed he drunkenly tried to look at her breasts while they were alone in the toilet.

He was subsequently given a police caution for common assault.

The show has a history of causing controversy and the previous series was the second most complained-about show of 2014, with 1,874 people contacting the watchdog about it.

The only programme with a worse record was the main Big Brother series which received 3,784 complaints, many of them centred on the behaviour of its eventual winner, Helen Wood, who was accused of bullying other contestants.

Last year, Ofcom found the main show breached the broadcasting code after a pre-watershed scene where housemates swore 14 times within 50 seconds.

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