Most complained about TV moments after Lawrence Fox row from GMB to Big Brother
Laurence Fox comments which GB News called ‘unacceptable’
Dan Wootton’s GB News show received 7,300 Ofcom complaints after actor Laurence Fox made vile comments insulting journalist Ava Evans.
The sexism row started after Fox discussed Ms Evans’ comments made on BBC Politics Live and said: “Show me a single self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman…Who would want to shag that?” As Wootton could be seen smiling and laughing.
Fox’s appearance on Tuesday sparked huge backlash and has resulted in both he and Wootton being suspended from the channel.
On Thursday, Fox said he was “sorry for demeaning” the political correspondent, while Wootton has issued multiple apologies and expressed his regret that he did not intervene when Fox ranted on-air.
As Ofcom announces its investigation into the controversial episode, Express.co.uk looks back at the most complained-about moments to ever be broadcast on British television.
READ MORE: Laurence Fox’s statement in full as he apologises to Ava Evans over GB News rant
Jade Goody’s CBB racism row
In 2007, Ofcom received 44,500 complaints over the infamous racism row between Jade Goody and Indian actress Shilpa Shetty.
During the season of Celebrity Big Brother, some of the housemates called Shilpa a “Princess” and “The Indian”, claiming they could not pronounce her name.
Jade, who died of cervical cancer in 2009, also told Shilpa she needed “a day in the slums”, “etiquette lessons” and called her “Shilpa Poppadom”.
The moment sparked widespread controversy and Ofcom concluded that Channel 4 breached the broadcasting code and made “several editorial misjudgements”. The channel was subsequently forced to broadcast a series of apologies.
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Piers Morgan’s comments about Meghan Markle on GMB
Piers Morgan quit Good Morning Britain after his comments about Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview sparked 57,121 complaints.
The journalist had said that he “didn’t believe” the Duchess of Sussex’s statements about her mental health struggles, including that she had felt suicidal and “didn’t want to be alive”. The next day, the TalkTV presenter stormed off the set after a debate about Meghan with Alex Beresford.
Ofcom investigated his comments and ITV confirmed Piers was leaving his role with immediate effect.
Later that year, Ofcom ruled that the controversial moment did not breach the broadcasting code due to Piers’ “freedom of expression”.
Jeremy Clarkson’s The One Show rant
Jeremy Clarkson’s 2011 appearance on BBC’s The One Show received 31,000 complaints after he quipped that striking public sector workers should be “executed in front of their families”.
Ofcom launched an investigation but cleared the Clarkson’s Farm star, saying his viewers should be familiar with his “provocative and outspoken nature”.
Michael Parkinson’s Ghostwatch
A 1992 episode of Ghostwatch, presented by Michael Parkinson, Sarah Greene and Mike Smith, was said to have left viewers “traumatised” as the hosts went on “live ghost hunts”.
The complaint-sparking moment came when viewers witnessed what they believed was Sarah being killed by a ghost named Pipes as the show stopped suddenly with just dead air.
Ofcom received 30,000 complaints and The British Medical Journal reported that at least two children suffered from PTSD after watching it.
As a result, the BBC show was banned for 10 years. However, it has never aired again and is only available on DVD.
Roxanne Pallett’s Celebrity Big Brother ‘Punchgate’
The Celebrity Big Brother “punch row” in 2018 received 25,327 complaints after Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett accused Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas of deliberately hurting her, branding him a “woman beater” in an exchange many viewers saw as play-fighting.
Ryan repeatedly and emotionally denied Roxanne’s accusations and the actress later admitted that she got it wrong.
Speaking to host Emma Willis after she left the CBB house, Roxanne said she had become “the most hated girl in Britain” and that the backlash had been “a lot to deal with”.
Despite becoming the most complained about TV moment of that year, Ofcom cleared Channel 5, ruling that it did not break any rules by showing the row play out over several days.
Matt Hancock on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Matt Hancock taking part in the 2022 series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! became one of the most complained about TV moments of the year with 1968 complaints.
The majority of complaints objected to the former Health Secretary appearing on the show following his handling of the Covid pandemic. Meanwhile, other viewers expressed concerns about how he was being treated by the other campmates.
Ofcom said in a statement that there is “no ban on any particular person taking part in programmes” and, despite the backlash, Matt made it all the way to the final and finished in third place.
Jerry Springer: The Opera
In 2005, The Jerry Springer Show was turned into a musical on BBC Two called The Opera. It received 55,000 complaints over provocative themes including swearing, a joke about Jesus being “a bit gay” and tap-dancing members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Opera provoked accusations of blasphemy and a large backlash from religious campaigners.
However, later that year Ofcom ruled that the programme did not breach broadcasting guidelines. The regulator stated that although The Opera “clearly had the potential to offend and indeed the intention to shock, it was set in a very clear context as a comment on modern TV”.
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