Jonathan Ross said he was “mortified” people thought he was being anti-gay when he suggested parents should put their sons up for adoption if they wanted a Hannah Montana MP3 player.
A number of listeners complained to the broadcasting watchdog, claiming the comments on his Radio 2 show on Saturday were homophobic.
Ross, 48, was involved in a light-hearted discussion about prizes in a competition themed around the fictional teen pop star when he joked: “If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption before he brings his ... erm ... partner home.”
After coming under fire for the remarks, the presenter posted a message on Twitter in which he said: “Am mortified to hear some people thought I was being homophobic on radio show. Nothing could be further from truth, as I am sure most know.”
In a reply to a fellow user of the networking website who told Ross to ignore the complaints as he was “one of the gayest straight men ever!”, Ross said he had gay relatives and it had “never been an issue”.
But he added: “But I guess sometimes you need to be sensitive to avoid upsetting folk.”
A spokeswoman for Ofcom was unable to say how many people had complained but said: “We have had complaints. We are assessing those complaints against the broadcasting code.”
A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC has received four complaints about Jonathan’s comments on Saturday’s show.
“However, these off-the-cuff remarks were made purely in jest and were not intended to be offensive.
“Jonathan is not homophobic in any sense and never meant for his comments to be taken seriously.”
Listener Karen Mills told Pink News: “How can these people earn such huge sums of public money to come out with this discriminatory rubbish?
“What would be the message to a young gay man listening to this? Worse still, how might such comments reinforce and support homophobic bullying in the playground?”
Ross has not been far from controversy in the past year, only returning to the airwaves in January after being involved in the Andrew Sachs lewd phone calls row.
The BBC suspended him for 12 weeks without pay in October after he and fellow DJ Russell Brand left obscene messages on Sachs’s answerphone, which were broadcast on Radio 2.
The two presenters said Brand had slept with the 'Fawlty Towers' actor’s granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, and joked that Sachs might kill himself.
Ross walked straight back into controversy on his radio show after his suspension was lifted, by joking about having sex with an elderly woman.
The BBC insisted there was no link to any specific individual and that the joke was part of a light-hearted exchange.
Known for his irreverent humour and flamboyant fashion sense, Ross also presents a chat show, 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross', on BBC1, featuring music from 4 Poofs and a Piano.