F1: Regulator accepts ITV’s apology for Brundle’s ‘pikey’ remark

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarThursday, August 21st, 2008

 
 

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom says it intends to take no further action after ITV apologised for Martin Brundle’s use of the word ‘pikey’ during the run-in to the Canadian Grand Prix.

In a judgement that it issued after receiving 14 complaints about the incident, on the grounds that the word is offensive to members of the travelling community, it says that it regards the matter as resolved.

It points out that the ITV Press Office issued an apology to any viewers who were offended by the comment and also apologised to the 22 viewers who contacted it directly.

It says that the broadcaster has also “provided compliance advice to the production team and the presenter in relation to potentially offensive language.”

In its Broadcast Bulletin Issue number 115, it says:

ITV responded that during ITV1’s live F1 coverage presenter Martin Brundle’s ‘grid walk’ interviews are unscripted and spontaneous. It confirmed that the interview with Mr Ecclestone on this occasion did include the use of the term “pikey” and accepted that the term is regarded by some viewers as offensive due to its origin as a derogatory term for Irish Travellers. However, ITV also felt that the word is used more widely today as a non-specific but admittedly derogatory term.

ITV emphasised that in the context in which the term was used in the programme there was no intention for it to have been interpreted as referring to the travelling communities (whether Travellers, Gypsies or Roma). It stated that Martin Brundle was unaware of the potential racial or ethnic connotations and in no way intended the remark to be understood as derogatory towards Travellers. The broadcaster added that Mr Brundle sincerely regrets any offence the remark may have caused. ITV also pointed out that during the course of his career as a commentator, racing journalist and driver, Martin Brundle has never received any criticism of this nature before.

To read the full item, click here. (We recommend using ctrl-f or your browser’s search function on the word ‘Brundle’ as this is a long document and you need to scroll some way down to get to the relevant bit.)

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