TV presenter Richard Madeley has been criticised for using the word “dyke” on the Richard & Judy show.
Viewers complained to the media regulator Ofcom that the presenter’s remark on the tea-time show was homophobic.
But Madeley, aged 48, who fronts the Channel 4 programme with his wife Judy Finnigan, said he was using the word to describe a woman’s sexuality in a “hip” way.
The presenter said he thought that “dyke” was widely used in popular culture.
In his response to Ofcom, he acknowledged that the term had been disparaging in the past but said he thought the term was no longer offensive, and was now accepted by the gay community.
After the commissioning editor and compliance lawyer agreed the word, made in reference to an item on tanning on June 9, should not have been used, Madeley apologised to viewers during the next day’s show.
Ofcom said it would take no further action following the apology and the decision to edit the remark out of any repeats of the show.
Channel 4 said that it accepted that the term could still be considered offensive in certain contexts.
Recently the presenter – who defected with his wife from ITV’s This morning in 2001 – was involved in an on-air row with the Duchess of York after he asked if she would be getting back with the Duke of York.
She lost her temper just minutes into the interview when Madeley said the public wanted the pair to re-kindle their marriage.
In today’s adjudications, Ofcom also criticised the digital channel Reality TV for screening a programme about sports disasters, which suggested Hillsborough was caused by hooliganism.
Seven viewers complained about the comments and said that the footage shown was distressing.
Reality TV used its website to issue an apology “for any distress that the commentary to this programme may have caused the people of Liverpool, the supporters of Liverpool FC, and in particular those directly affected by this terrible event”.
It said it fully agreed with the Taylor Report, which said that Liverpool fans were in no way to blame for the tragedy of April 15, 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans died.
Ofcom said it would take no further action after Reality TV said it would never air the offensive part of the programme again.
The watchdog also upheld a complaint against MTV2 which had shown a man letting off a fire extinguisher in his friend’s face, in Dirty Sanchez Takes Over MTV2.
The channel agreed that the scene – one of a series of stunts – was not suitable for broadcast at 4.30pm, when a large number of children could be watching.