Peak Offence…Ofcom clear a Top Gear joke referencing the term ‘pikey’

Posted: 29 July, 2015 in Ofcom TV Censor
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pkeys peak video Travellers have complained about Ofcom’s decision to clear the BBC after Jeremy Clarkson was shown on an episode of Top Gear with a sign reading Pikey’s Peak .The Traveller Movement are ‘outraged’ that the communications regulator has green-lit the use of the word pikey and claim it is a victory for racist bullies .

A Traveller Movement spokesman told the Guardian:

We are appalled that Ofcom have followed the BBC Trust’s line and have green-lit the use of ‘pikey’ on Top Gear.

Their decision that this particular use has no reference to Gypsies and Travellers is bankrupt.

The viewing public are not that stupid and Ofcom need to give them more credit. The decision is a victory for racist bullies and we will be meeting with our solicitors, Howe & Co, to consider our options.

An Ofcom spokesman said:

Following thorough investigation we found this programme did not break broadcasting rules by showing a placard which said ‘Pikey’s Peak’.

We found that, while some in the audience would perceive the word pikey as a derogatory term for Gypsies and Travellers, on balance there was sufficient context in the way the word was used to minimise offence.

However, we have advised broadcasters this doesn’t mean the use of the word is acceptable in any programme in any context and that it is capable of causing significant offence in certain contexts.

Ofcom did not rely on the BBC Trust’s findings in reaching its decision. As the UK’s broadcast regulator, our team investigated this programme completely afresh and reached an independent decision.

It is Ofcom’s view that the broadcaster ensured there was sufficient context in the way the word was used to minimise offence and therefore that the use of the word in the context of this programme was not in breach of […] the Code.

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