Biggins’ Bigotry OK by OFCOM

Media regulator OFCOM have today rejected complaints that were made about the Celebrity Big Brother programme where Christopher Biggins’ biphobic comments were made. Some 44 individual complaints had been registered earlier this year.

In their ruling, the regulators declared that they had “investigated whether a discussion between Christopher Biggins and Renee Graziano about the sexual orientation of bisexual people was offensive.

They went on: “these remarks made in Celebrity Big Brother were capable of causing offence, but they were likely to be within the audience’s expectations of this programme.”

The comments were made on the Celebrity Big Brother programme on Channel 5 at the start of August – provoking outrage not just among bi organisations and individuals but, tellingly, from bigger LGBT organisations like Stonewall as well.

Biggins had declared to another housemate that bisexuals ought to “pick a team” and “the worst type” of people; explaining bisexuality as, “what it is, is people not wanting to admit they are gay”.

That might just be projection: he was married to a woman before coming out as a gay man later in life. Aside from its inherent bisexual erasure and stereotyping, the trouble with his logic is that one person’s experience does not tell the story of everyone who ever might use the label bisexual. Indeed there are probably more people calling themselves gay or straight who don’t want to admit they are bisexual.

During the programme, Christopher also repeated the notion that bisexual men were responsible for the spread of HIV – a slur from the 1980s AIDS crisis whose echoes are still heard in problem pages today with notions of bi men as the main route for spreading of sexual infections and a dangerous choice of partner.

He was later ejected from the house for these and other prejudiced comments.

So: apparently declaring bis to be being liars and vectors of disease is offensive, but not too offensive to air. Thanks for clearing that up, OFCOM.