ITV let off over Scherzinger’s effing language

By | Published on Tuesday 4 June 2013

Nicole Scherzinger

OfCom has decided not to take action against ITV after 51 ‘The X-Factor Results Show’ viewers complained that they had found language used by one of its judges Nicole Scherzinger offensive. One the 12 Nov edition of the show last year, Scherzinger introduced one of her acts facing elimination, James Arthur, by saying, “I am so proud, this is James effing Arthur”.

During OfCom’s investigation into this, ITV said that it had warned Scherzinger about using inappropriate language before – in particular the use of the word ‘fricking’ in previous shows. Producers had discussed whether or not to get presenter Dermot O’Leary to issue an apology after Scherzinger said “effing”, but decided not to because “whilst ‘effing’ had some potential for offence, it was much less offensive than using the f-word itself”.

ITV added that it did not consider “effing” an offensive word at all, and therefore did not accept that there could have been any breach of broadcasting rules, saying that it was a “traditional English euphemism, most often used in the phrase ‘effing and blinding’ to describe when someone is using a stream of swear words in an angry fashion”.

OfCom disagreed with this, pointing out that the fact that some people had been offended by the word proved that it did have the capacity to offend. The watchdog also said that the term was inappropriate for a pre-watershed programme.

However, in its report, OfCom concluded: “We noted the measures ITV undertook to remind judges to avoid using offensive language before the broadcast, including specifically asking Nicole Scherzinger to avoid using words that may be interpreted differently by a UK audience, the consideration given during the broadcast to the most appropriate response to Nicole Scherzinger’s use of ‘effing’, and its submissions on the differing levels of offence that a US and UK audience may attach to this particular term. We also took into account that ‘The X-Factor Results Show’ is broadcast live and that the elimination round can often be tense and emotionally charged. Taking these factors into account, Ofcom considered the matter resolved”.

You’re probably expecting me to finish this story by saying, “fucking hell”, or something. But that would just be fucking childish.