Ofcom has received more than 300 complaints about Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show after Mike Parry’s controversial appearance.
The regulator has recorded 383 complaints regarding the TV show, which recently came under fire after Parry suggested ‘minorities have to be squashed’.
Radio host Parry, 66, was a guest on Friday morning’s edition of the Channel 5 show, and one segment saw Vine, Parry and fellow panellist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown discussing the Insulate Britain protesters who blocked part of the M25 with their climate change protest.
Speaking about Tory ministers vowing to ramp up legal action against the protesters, Alibhai-Brown said that we ‘have to put up with’ the protests, saying: ‘I think if we are a free society, and I am very glad to be living in a free society, then we have to put up with some of this. When the farmers took to the roads, none of the traditional right-wing papers objected in the way they’re objecting.’
Parry said: ‘Not to the detriment of millions of others.
‘The problem in this country in all areas is that minorities always get the upper hand because we’re so tolerant, and minorities have to be squashed, like that… so that the rest of society can operate normally.’
Upon saying ‘like that’, he slammed his hand on the desk.
Alibhai-Brown said: ‘I think you should go live in China. They could do with you over there’, with host Vine quipping: ‘Don’t think we want to do too much squashing of minorities on a Friday.’
An out-of-context clip of the segment, starting from Parry saying ‘the problem in this country’, quickly went viral on social media, with people including Stan Collymore retweeting the video.
Hundreds of tweets tagged the broadcasting regulator Ofcom as they argued that the statement was ‘inciting violence’.
Parry later tweeted: ‘Can I explain please the context of my comment on the @JeremyVineOn5 show this morning. “Minorities have to be squashed.” It sounds brutal in isolation but it was directly aimed at the M25 protestors and OTHER minority groups who’ve had a disproportionate effect on life .
‘Before today’s show we were discussing wind power/energy sources .. a story we covered .. and I expressed the view: “Fracking could have saved this country from relying on overseas energy .. but once again a tiny minority of protestors stopped it happening. Why? It’s mad.”
‘I do not regard anybody who is not my religion, creed or colour as a person in a minority group. I’m not even aware that I live in a mixed race society. I just live in our society. To link my “minorities” comment to ethnicity is just silly .. I don’t think like that.’
Host Vine defended Parry on Twitter, saying he was not referring to ethnic minorities, although his tweet has since been deleted.
What is Ofcom and what does it cover?
Ofcom is the regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on each day.
The watchdog makes sure people get the best from their broadband, home phone and mobile services, as well as keeping an eye on TV and radio.
Ofcom deals with most content on television, radio and video-on-demand services, including the BBC. However, if your complaint is about something you saw or heard in a BBC programme, you may need to complain to the BBC first.
Its rules for television and radio programmes are set out in the Broadcasting Code.
The rules in the Broadcasting Code also apply to the BBC iPlayer.
This Broadcasting Code is the rule book that broadcasters have to follow and it covers a number of areas, including; protecting the under-18s, protecting audiences from harmful and/or offensive material and ensuring that news, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.
Audiences can complain to Ofcom if they believe a breach of the Broadcasting Code has been made.
Every time Ofcom receives a complaint from a viewer or listener, they assess it to see if it needs further investigation.
If Ofcom decide to investigate, they will include the case in a list of new investigations, published in the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin.
An investigation is a formal process which can take some time depending on the complexity of the issues involved.
Ofcom can also launch investigations in the absence of a complaint from a viewer or listener.