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Katie Price complaint upheld by Ofcom

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Katie Price

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Katie Price's complaint about "highly offensive" comments made by Frankie Boyle on his Channel 4 show last year has been upheld by Ofcom.

In an episode of the Tramadol Nights series aired on Channel 4 on December 7, Boyle made disparaging comments about Price and her disabled son Harvey.

In the show, the comedian said: "Apparently Jordan and Peter Andre are fighting each other over custody of Harvey. Well eventually one of them will have to lose and have to keep him."

Later, he added: "I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter [Alex Reid, Price's second husband] because she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from f**king her."

Solicitors acting on behalf of Price complained to Ofcom that the comments were "discriminatory, offensive, demeaning and humiliating".

Ofcom also received around 500 complaints about the series, including objections from disability charities Mencap and the Royal London Society for the Blind.

In response, Channel 4 rejected in the "strongest terms" the claims that Boyle's comments were about Harvey Price's disability, or about rape or incest. The broadcaster claimed that the comedian was simply making "absurdist satire".

Channel 4 said that Boyle's comedy was "not for the faint hearted or easily offended", but appropriate measures had been taken to alert viewers of the potential to offend. Tramadol Nights was aired at 10pm after the watershed, while most viewers "expect to see more challenging material on Channel 4".

The broadcaster also noted that Harvey had appeared regularly on Price's reality TV shows on ITV2, meaning he was well known in the media.

In its verdict, Ofcom rejected Channel 4's claims that Boyle's comments were meant as a satire of Price's perceived media exploitation of her children.

The regulator said that the comments had a "straightforward focus" on Harvey and his disability, meaning they had the potential to be "highly offensive" to audiences.

Ofcom said that Channel 4's post-watershed scheduling and promotion of Tramadol Nights was not sufficient to give context to Boyle's comments.

The broadcaster was also criticised for not "applying generally accepted standards so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from this offensive material".

Ofcom found various breaches of the Broadcasting Code, but said that the case did not represent a "fundamental failure" of Channel 4's compliance procedures.

"In view of the careful consideration Channel 4 took in the broadcast of the series overall, Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster was clearly aware of its responsibilities under the Code and had attempted to comply with the Code's requirements," said Ofcom.

"Taking into account the challenging and provocative nature of the content of the Tramadol Nights series overall, Ofcom did not consider that these breaches demonstrated a fundamental failure of Channel 4's compliance procedures.

"Rather, in Ofcom's view, this case involved an erroneous decision on a matter of editorial judgement on the broadcaster's part."

Last month, the UK's video on-demand regulator ATVOD also cleared Channel 4's 4oD service for offering Boyle's controversial Tramadol Nights series.

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