Music News

British deejay resigns after getting in trouble for making fun of Sam Smith

Walter Pfeiffer

A deejay on a British radio station has resigned after the British media watchdog agency Ofcom — similar to the FCC in the U.S. — found that remarks he made while poking fun at Sam Smith’s gender identity were offensive.

The deejay, Paul Ellery, worked for Sunshine Radio, a station that broadcasts to England’s West Midlands and South Wales.  According to the Hereford Times, this past September, Ellery played a song by Sam, and then, referring to the fact that the singer has identified as non binary, said, “I can’t get over this, that he says he doesn’t identify with being male or female, so in future we have to call him ‘they.’”

Ellery continued, “And I heard somebody…saying, ‘The easiest way to find out, Sam, if you’re male or female or ‘they,’ is to take your clothes off – there we go, you’re definitely a boy!'”

That comment resulted in a complaint to Ofcom, which investigated the matter.  Sunshine Radio told Ofcom that Ellery felt his comment was “misjudged,” and that he wasn’t deliberately trying to offend the LGBT community — and then added that he’d resigned.

“These comments had the potential to cause offense as they sought to ridicule Sam Smith’s non-binary status,” read the Ofcom ruling. “In addition, by referring to Sam Smith using the incorrect pronoun, the presenter appeared to ignore and undermine Sam Smith’s publicly stated gender identity.”

While Ellery’s comments could have been allowed if they were “justified by the context,” Ofcom stated, they were not, and the station was thus found to be in breach of code.

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