Rage Against the Machine on Breakfast
We've had our moments with bad language on 5live Breakfast before. I'll never forget when, a few years ago, Nicky got his tongue tied trying to say West Kent Hunt. We got a couple of complaints - and a lot of people saying they'd never laughed so much. It was unintentional and certainly unplanned.
As it was when a very polite sounding woman on the phone-in earlier this year suddenly said "Oh f*** it!" in the middle of a well-argued, reasoned argument. She just, it seems, got caught up in the passion of her point - and forgot where she was. When the former Arsenal footballer Emmanuel Petit was on a while back to talk about the row over Thierry Henry's handball and described the reaction as "bull****" it was equally unexpected.
But when Rage Against the Machine swore on Breakfast this morning, some people felt we should have seen it coming. The song Killing in the Name includes the F-word in the lyrics - and when the band accepted our request for an interview for today's programme and then agreed to perform the song live from Los Angeles, we were aware of the need to address this issue.
Which is why our producer had several conversations with the band and their management about the requirement not to swear. We told them it was a breakfast show. We took them at their word when they said there would be no bad language. When it became clear on air they were including the F-words, we faded the song out and apologised.
Not before we heard some swearing on air. We're sorry for that and I apologise again to anyone who was offended.
The response on texts was in many ways similar to the West Kent Hunt incident. A minority were angry or offended. Some thought we had been naïve. A fair number reckoned the song was awful. But many people said they find these live, unplanned, unpredictable moments the highlight of their listening - and they were quick to tell us so.
Richard Jackson is Editor of the 5 live Breakfast Show
- Listen again to the item on the 5 live web site.
- The video was shot in the studio in LA and the picture shows the band performing in Paris in 2008. It's by Fábio Nascimento and it's used under licence.
- Rage Against the Machine's performance was covered by The Mail, Sky News and The Guardian. Chris on the Vexed blog pronounced the item 'awesome', Nialler 9 'amazing.