Emmerdale's latest prison attack sparks 180 complaints

An episode of Emmerdale which saw a character homophobically abused and taunted over the suicide of his father has sparked a storm of complaints.

Television watchdog Ofcom has received 180 complaints from upset viewers about Monday night’s instalment of the ITV soap.

Character Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) has been suffering homophobic abuse in prison since the other inmates found out he is gay, and he has also been victimised as the son of convicted paedophile Gordon Livesy who hanged himself in the jail in 2016.

Aaron, who was abused by his father as a child, was dragged to an empty cell by an angry mob of prisoners during the episode and beaten by ringleader Jason who spat homophobic insults at him.

He then said: “Your pansy old man died in here.”

The character continued: “This is where he laid at night thinking about all the things you and him got up to.

“Did you cry for him to stop, or did you secretly want him to carry on?”

As he held Aaron to the bed, he said: “Then he climbed up on his bed, exactly where you’re kneeling now.

“I reckon the last thought that went through his head, your dad, was that it was worth it because he ruined you.”

An Ofcom spokesman said: “We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate, or not.”

An ITV spokesman responded: “The threat of violence towards Aaron Dingle was signposted both before and during last night’s episode, which included a pre-transmission warning of scenes some viewers might find upsetting.

“The issue of violence in prisons is a real and highly topical one, and many viewers have praised the storyline for highlighting the homophobia some people face within the criminal justice system.

“The actual violence shown towards Aaron was, however, carefully judged and suitably limited, given the scheduling of the programme.”

Viewers of the Yorkshire Dales-set soap were shocked by the scene and tweeted their reaction.

Some fans tweeted Ofcom to complain.

But other viewers thought it was an important storyline that had been handled well.

In 2016, Emmerdale received 815 complaints in total with 550 of them over a dognapping storyline.

More in this Section

Kit Harington discusses Jon Snow’s Game Of Thrones endingKit Harington discusses Jon Snow’s Game Of Thrones ending

Harry Styles appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazineHarry Styles appears on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

Gemma Atkinson ‘loudly and proudly’ rocking post-baby curvesGemma Atkinson ‘loudly and proudly’ rocking post-baby curves

James Corden extends contract to host Late Late Show until 2022James Corden extends contract to host Late Late Show until 2022


Lifestyle

From Turkey to Vietnam, here’s where the chef and food writer has fallen in love with on her travellers.Sabrina Ghayour’s top 5 cities for foodies to visit

Dr Dympna Kavanagh, chief dental officer, Department of Health (University College Cork graduate)Working Life: Dr Dympna Kavanagh, chief dental officer, Department of Health

Like most Irish kids of our generation, chillies, spicy food, heat were never really big aspects of our formative eating experiences.Currabinny Cooks: Getting spicy in the kitchen

Timothy Grady is in Bantry this week to host a concert, and read from his classic book about the Irish in London, writes Don O'Mahony.Giving voice to the emigrant experience

More From The Irish Examiner