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Ofcom has shared its ruling on LBC presenter Steve Allen after he was criticised for calling Tilly Ramsay a ‘chubby little thing’ live on air.
Allen was met with a wealth of backlash and received 860 Ofcom complaints for his comments about the daughter of chef Gordon Ramsay, which came after one of her appearances on Strictly Come Dancing in October.
The presenter said Ramsay ‘can’t blooming well dance’ and that he was ‘bored’ with her performances on Strictly, adding: ‘She’s a chubby little thing, isn’t she? Have you noticed? Probably her dad’s cooking I should imagine.’
Allen later issued an apology to the 20-year-old, though not before people called for him to be fired and argued that his comments breached ‘generally accepted standards’.
After assessing the complaints and comments, Ofcom ruled that a formal investigation will not be taking place.
The watchdog explained its decision by saying Allen’s remarks were brief and that listeners of his radio show had ‘expectations’ that he would be ‘provocative’. It did, however, acknowledge that Allen’s comments could have had a negative impact on Ramsay’s mental health and consequently provided guidance to the radio station.
In a statement cited by Metro, Ofcom said:
We have provided guidance to LBC to take greater care in future.
Given societal concerns about body image pressures on young people, the presenter’s criticism of a young woman’s appearance could have led to an adverse effect on wellbeing and mental health.
But given the brevity of the comments and the likely audience’s expectations of this provocative presenter and programme, we will not be pursuing further.
The decision not to pursue an investigation was met with mixed responses, with some praising the move while others slammed Ofcom for failing to take further action.
One person argued that just because Allen ‘usually says stuff like that… doesn’t mean his comments about body image are acceptable.’
Responding to the news, another person simply commented: ‘What the hell!’
After Allen initially made his comments, Ramsay responded with a statement in which she said she ‘draw[s] the line at commenting on [her] appearance.’
She continued: ‘It’s such a shame that someone is trying to make such a positive experience negative. This isn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last comment made about my appearance and I accept that and I’m learning to accept myself. But please remember that words can hurt and at the end of the day I am only 19.’
In issuing his apology, Allen reportedly wanted to make clear that he was ‘very sorry’ to have upset Ramsay.
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