Channel 5, 15 July 2013, 22:00
Big Brother is a well-known reality show, broadcast by Channel 5.
Ofcom received 165 complaints regarding this programme. Complainants objected to an
altercation between two Housemates Daley Ojuederie ( Daley ) and Hazel O'Sullivan ( Hazel ). In summary, complainants were offended by:
Daley's threatening behaviour towards Hazel (which led to Daley being called to the Diary Room by Big Brother to account for his actions); and
Big Brother intervening too late after Daley's threatening
The sequence commenced with Daley and Hazel initially in their separate beds within the Luxury House laughing and joking, when a pillow fight between the two ensued.
Daley was shown standing on Hazel's bed,
looking over Hazel, who was lying on the bed. Hazel then reached up and pulled down Daley's shorts. He jumped off the bed and pulled his shorts back up.
The argument developed until...
Daley was then shown
crouching down with his face very close to Hazel's.
Daley: [Whispering] Let me tell you something, little girl, have some respect for your fucking elder, 'cause if you don't...
Hazel: What will you do about it?
Daley: I'll finish you .
Hazel: [Sitting up in bed] I think I'd finish you quicker .
Daley: What are you talking about? Huh?
Huh? It's OK, I'm not afraid of aggressive men .
At this point Daley used one hand to push Hazel down on to her bed by her throat, while saying:
Daley: Pipe down and go to
sleep now, do you understand me?
Hazel then made an attempt to grab Daley's neck in a similar fashion, which Daley resisted.
Daley: Who do you think you are? Fucking
Terminator or something?
Daley was shown leaning over Hazel, who was still lying on her bed, and then pinning Hazel's arms down by the sides of her body.
Daley: Don't fuck
with me, do you understand?
Daley: [Miming hitting his head against Hazel's] Before I nut you one
Big Brother then interrupted the exchange as follows:
Big Brother: This is Big Brother. Would Daley come to the Diary Room?
Daley was summarily evicted from the Big Brother house.
Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 which states:
In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in
avoiding or minimising offence.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3
In this difficult case Ofcom's view is that Channel 5 did take a number of steps to seek to contextualise the offence in
this case, including compressing the incident into one broadcast so that viewers could see the outcome, and ultimately evicting Daley from the House as a result of his violent behaviour.
However, the decision not to edit the
material for the purpose of limiting offence --despite its clear potential to cause offence -- coupled with the generalised nature of the pre-broadcast warning 40 minutes before the incident and the lack of clarity that Daley's conduct was unacceptable
when Big Brother first intervened led Ofcom to conclude that the offence to viewers was not justified by the context.
For these reasons, on balance, Channel 5 did not apply generally accepted standards and Rule 2.3 was breached.