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The Male Gaze and Films

In: Other Topics

Submitted By robsambrook23
Words 1988
Pages 8
Intro
New media platforms and the success and popularity of television in modern society allow for comedians to have much more self-directed approach to reach their audience the way in which they want at the volume that they choose. The two case studies featured in this essay are Frankie Boyle’s twitter activity and television shows in relation to son of Katie Price, Harvey. Twitter is increasingly widespread and debatably the most interactive form of social media available. Twitter’s main significance comes through user’s ability to communicate freely with each other and the retweet system allows for content to spread on a much larger, faster scale than social media sites like Facebook. These retweets basically have the likely ability to snowball if found popular enough to the public and celebrity side of Twitter, and from this comes the chance interaction between both members of the public as well as some of the most world renown celebrities. However as I am going to explore Twitter can often act as a dangerous tool and because of the nature of social networking it can be difficult to maintain efficiently and at an effective enough speed. The potential for pervasive offence to be spread via television seems much less likely due to the non-live nature and ambience that it possesses. Ofcom regulators are expected to cut anything from television shows that is deemed too offensive and unwatchable for general audiences prior to the show being aired. However this is not always the case.
TV
During Frankie Boyle’s Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights Boyle made a violent sexual slur targeting Katie Price’s disabled son Harvey in which he said, ‘Jordan and Peter Andre are still fighting each other over custody of Harvey. Eventually one of them will have to keep him’, and he then went on to add ‘I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage fighter. She needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her’. In reaction to this in 2010 Katie Price took legal action getting her solicitors involved with both Frankie Boyle and channel 4. Solicitors acting on behalf of her and Harvey made formal complaints to Ofcom. Solicitors acting on behalf of Katie and Harvey Price complained to Ofcom that the comments were discriminatory, offensive, demeaning and humiliating. The solicitors informed Ofcom that Harvey has a condition called septo-optic dysplasia, and is also on the autistic spectrum. The solicitors stated that “Harvey has very restricted sight, needs constant medication and has learning difficulties. Harvey, as a result of his condition and medication is large and strong for his age”. As well as the complaints made by Katie Price Channel 4 were a subject of 500 public complaints, including disabled charities Mencap and The Royal London Society for the Blind. Complaints made by these two stated that the jokes made were highly offensive, discriminatory and comments about a disabled child are far too insulting to be aired on national television. Mencap also added that the organisation was particularly offended that the comments made suggested an eight year old disabled child was engaging in incest and rape.
In light of the comments made by Boyle, Ofcom requested that Chanel 4 provide comments on how this particular broadcast complied with the rules of code as are followed:
Rule 2.1 “Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.”
Rule 2.3 “In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of "context" below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.”
However, Channel 4 responded saying that the material broadcast fully complied with both rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the code stated by Ofcom and went on to say it was ‘wholly justified in the context’. With this Channel 4 went on to explain the measures that were taken during the broadcast in order to ensure it complied with all codes and the reasons why it considered it had fulfilled its obligation to provide ‘adequate protection’ for members of the public. They strongly expressed in their defence of the broadcast that the material was completely justified by the context of the particular television show. Channel 4 also defended the broadcast due to the amount of extensive publicity that was subject to the public during the weeks and months prior to it being aired. The show was advertised on posters, newspapers, magazines and through constant adverts, including a pilot episode in the weeks leading up to the series. During the televised advertisement it states that, “Frankie Boyle’s style is undoubtedly challenging and bound to cause offence to some viewers but the series was scheduled with this fact in mind, and carried strong warnings, to afford audiences the requisite protection from such content”. Each episode in the series was led by announcement, ‘some viewers, WILL find this offensive’. Channel 4’s statement also noted that the show had been scheduled to begin at 22:00 in order to compensate for the amount of very strong language and adult humour and also to lessen the risk of offending the general public.

In finalizing this case Ofcom took into consideration freedom of expression and Channel 4’s argument that comments made were acceptable to broadcast within their context. Ofcom are fully aware that Frankie Boyle is an established comedian who is well known for his controversial comedy television shows. However, despite the pre-show warnings that were made completely clear in advertisements Channel 4 deemed that the material broadcast went far beyond what would have been expected by viewers regardless to whether they had seen warnings or not. Therefore Ofcom concluded that after reviewing the whole case, the material should not have been broadcast and as a result of breaching rules 2.1 and 2.3 the show must no longer be aired.
Twitter
Katie Price orchestrated another attack on Frankie Boyle two years prior to the comments made on his television series. This time Katie Price chose to speak out over his offensive tweets aimed at Disabled athletes at the 2012 London Paralympics.
‘As far as the Paralympics goes I’m most looking forward to the equestrian events. I’ve never seen a horse in a wheelchair.’
‘Apparently the Saudi Arabian Paralympic team is mainly thieves #c4paralympics.’

The tweets posted by Frankie Boyle were subject to thousands of reports to Twitter and the large amount of complaints made by Twitter users made the national news and many tabloid papers. The fast amount of complaints made turned what was intended as a dangerously risqué joke into a nationwide issue and enabled celebrities and television presenters a platform to discuss and spread what had happened and how it should be dealt.
Twitter’s rules and regulation states:
‘we do not tolerate behaviour that crosses the line into abuse, including behaviour that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice. Any accounts and related accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be temporarily locked and/or subject to permanent suspension.’ The specified activities included ‘hateful conduct’ to those of disabled nature. Boyle along with his broadcasters have argued in the past his freedom to expression, something that twitter states it is very supportive of. Boyle is easily within his right to argue that the tweets made, despite being considered as ‘hateful content’, are blatantly intended to be humorous and do not have a sense of targeted abuse that twitter is more focused in, in this specific section of their terms and conditions. Boyle got a lot of negative publicity from this incident and unlike in the case of his television show his comments were deemed more acceptable from a live feed from his own personal twitter. Despite the rain outrage Boyle was the subject of Twitter were never requested to, nor did they of their own accord, block the twitter account, remove the tweets, or release a statement on their responsibilities and actions in protecting users of twitter.
Twitter did not deem Boyle’s comments to in their context break the rules stated above. Katie Price made a public statement following the seemingly slow Twitter response complaining that it was ‘far too soft’. She was deeply offended that Boyle had only been let off with a caution by Ofcom for his remarks in 2010 and by twitter for his tweets in 2012.
Recommendations
There are a number of ways that Ofcom and Twitter could alter the way they work in order to be more effective within regulation. It could be argued that Ofcom need to change in order to properly prevent cases such as Frankie Boyle’s television show. Although Ofcom regulate purely broadcasters, in the case of things such as ‘dangerous comedians’ they could evolve to have greater authority when dealing with individuals. Even if material in its context is acceptable for broadcast, the regulator of a broadcaster being able to warn and monitor individuals would surely be beneficial in future cases to restore public order and prevent unrest. In the case of Boyle’s television show, this would have meant for a much faster response which in itself would have protected more of the offended public by the comments made, however due to this lack of individual enforcement Ofcom currently have, this was not possible.
Twitter should continue as they are but could consider adding a more strict regulation that completely bans abusive language that targets groups and individuals in both abusive and non-abusive contexts. Even if there is no aggressive premise behind the language and topic if it discriminates against disadvantaged group such as those with disabilities twitter should immediately act with consequence. If this had been the case during Frankie Boyle’s outbursts on Twitter, once again less of the public would have been offended and ultimately there would have been at least some form of justice to those who deemed the comments to be classed as targeted abuse. The inclusion of a new regulatory body may also be beneficial for Twitter as there ae contradictions in the case of Frankie Boyle and other celebrity and non-celebrity cases.
Conclusion
Furthermore it is clear that in the case of Frankie Boyle in terms of television and social media, there is no real threat of severe punishment that can be implemented by OFCOM and twitter. On both occasions Boyle had deemed to break numerous regulations and policies that both OFCOM and Twitter express they will ‘not tolerate’ however in both instances he was just cautioned by both and Channel 4 released publicly that he was not welcome to host or present on behalf of them again. It is apparent that in terms of regulation much more could be done to limit the extent to what is classed as freedom of speech and it could easily be argued that Frankie Boyle has been treated far too fairly and Ofcom and Twitter have allowed him to get away with what could easily be considered very offensive material.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1337095/Katie-Price-wants-apology-Frankie-Boyles-sexual-slur-disabled-son-Harvey.html#ixzz3yv9IyhHg
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Conclusion (200words)
Summary
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/obb179/ http://metro.co.uk/2012/09/02/katie-price-reignites-frankie-boyle-feud-following-his-paralympic-tweets-562655/ http://www.jomec.co.uk/blog/no-laughing-matter-frankie-boyle-again-courts-controversy-over-tweets-about-angelina-jolie/
http://support.twitter.com/articles/18311#…...

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