Channel 4 issues formal apology after airing homophobic slur on Countdown

Anne Robinson 'will do well on Countdown' says Vorderman

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The channel issued a statement on Tuesday after Whitley Bay contestant Matt Gould’s seven-letter answer provoked serious backlash on social media. TV critics and Pointless host Richard Osman have also weighed in after Channel 4 left the homophobic slur in the programme unedited.

Contestants were given the letters A O O E D R P F T to form a word on Monday night’s episode of Countdown.

Clearly embarrassed, Matt Gould said: “I’ve got a rude word that I know is in the dictionary: P*****r.”

Gould later admitted he assumed his answer would be edited out and subbed for a more appropriate word.

Anne Robinson quickly moved onto the other contestants, but not before the editing blunder drew severe criticism from viewers.

In a recent statement, C4 said: “The airing of the word was an error of judgement.

“It does not align with our values and we apologise for any offence caused.”

Fans of the show, as well as several TV critics, were baffled by C4’s decision to leave in Gould’s first offensive answer.

Journalist Scott Bryan said: “As someone who was called a “p*r” by homophobes on a daily basis why on earth is Countdown allowing it to be said cheerfully as an answer on daytime television?

“Yes, I know it is in the dictionary,” he added. “But having been at the receiving end of that word as abuse for years (along with f*****), then hearing it casually as an answer on a quiz show.

“The amount of people saying ‘it is only a word,’ I’m pretty sure it was only a word back in the classrooms back then too. Yet it feels the same.”

Matt Gould agreed with the criticisms and has also issued a separate apology.

He said: “I apologise for my part in this. I thought it might be edited differently.”

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“At the time I said ‘I have an inappropriate seven that I know is in the dictionary or a riskier seven that I’m less sure about’.

“I thought that bit would be reshot with a non-offensive seven letter word.”

Pointless presenter Richard Osman has also questioned C4’s decision to include the slur in the final edit.

He called it an ‘a very easy fix, and not an uncommon one.’

“The contestant was embarrassed to be saying it,” Osman recalled. “But in that situation the easy solution is to all agree he scored seven points and to retake with a different answer.

“We’ve done that a couple of times with ‘correct’ answers.”

Anne Robinson has also come under fire for inappropriate comments, including gay innuendo, directed towards Weakest Link contestants, prompting some to question her suitability as Countdown presenter.

“Some [viewers] will loathe me because they’ll feel I’ve ruined their show,” she admitted after landing the role.

Countdown airs at 2:10pm Monday-Friday on Channel 4, and can also be streamed on All4.

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