ITV defends anti-Jewish comment

By James Martin, June 18, 2009

ITV has defended the broadcasting of an anti-Jewish remark on a reality show, claiming it was “justified by the context of the programme”.

On ITV1’s Dating The Enemy on Monday night, the female contestant, Bella, was talking with her mother about the male participant, Alan.
When her mother asked Bella about Alan’s religion, she replied that he was an atheist, adding: “At least he’s not Jewish.”

Complainants to ITV and broadcasting watchdog Ofcom included Amelia Benjamin of Stanmore, who was “aghast” at ITV’s seeming inability to understand the offensiveness of the remark. “I switched off in disgust.”

An ITV spokesperson said that although it did not condone the remark, it was “justified by the context of the programme which brings together couples with opposite and sometimes quite extreme views.
“It was clear that Bella and her mother held views that were stereo-typed, intolerant and not politically correct.”

Ofcom said it had yet to decide whether to investigate.

Last updated: 2:17pm, June 18 2009