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Ofcom clears Sharon's "Irish Mafia" remark

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Ofcom clears Sharon's "Irish Mafia" remark
Media super-regulator Ofcom has cleared Sharon Osbourne's "Irish Mafia" comment that aired on the November 12 9:15pm edition of The X Factor.

Osbourne made the remarks after fellow judge Louis Walsh opted to keep the Conway Sisters in the competition instead of Maria Lawson. Walsh and the Conway Sisters, who were eventually booted from the show on November 26, share Irish nationality.

"It’s a travesty," said Osbourne in the now-infamous exchange of November 12. "It’s about where they are from and not about talent. It’s like the Irish Mafia."

The comments provoked a firestorm of controversy on the Digital Spy X Factor forum, and 26 viewers wrote in to Ofcom complaining that the comment was "racist and/or unacceptable."

In its response, Ofcom explained:

"The use of the expression ‘mafia’ after almost any social group or nationality is a common occurrence in the English language. Its use is usually to imply that there is a preferential attitude operating to the detriment of the person using the expression. The expression was used in this context as an attack on exclusivity. We therefore do not believe that the remark was a deliberate attempt to denigrate Irish people in general or that the programme went beyond generally accepted standards."

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