Loose Women escapes investigation over rape poll

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image copyrightItv
image captionITV apologised for any offence caused by the Loose Women poll

Media regulator Ofcom has decided not to launch an investigation into an edition of ITV's Loose Women that included a viewers' poll about rape.

The broadcasting watchdog received 74 complaints about the 1 September programme, in which viewers were asked whether rape was ever a woman's fault.

ITV later apologised for the programme, saying the wording of its online poll had been "misjudged".

After assessing the complaints, though, Ofcom chose to take no further action.

"We carefully considered a number of complaints that it was offensive for this programme to ask the audience 'are women ever to blame' in cases of rape," said an Ofcom spokesperson.

"We noted the panel did not say that rape victims were in any way responsible for the behaviour of their attackers; and the audience strongly concurred with the sentiment 'no means no' expressed by many on the panel.

"We found the panel discussion and references to an online poll were in line with audience expectations for this live panel programme, which often covers difficult topics.

"Therefore, we are not taking the matter forward for investigation."

image copyrightPA
image captionHynde recently published an autobiography in which she writes candidly about the assault she experienced

The poll followed on from an interview Chrissie Hynde gave in which she spoke about a sexual assault she experienced when she was 21.

The Pretenders singer, now 64, told the Sunday Times she blamed herself for the assault, adding that women "have to take responsibility".

Elsewhere in its latest broadcast bulletin, Ofcom said it would be probing comments about women breastfeeding in public by BBC DJ Alex Dyke.

During his phone-in show on 12 August, the Radio Solent presenter said breastfeeding was "unnatural" and "the kind of thing that should be done in a quiet, private nursery".

The broadcaster later apologised for his comments, which were described as "unacceptable" by the BBC and led to a one-week suspension.

"Ofcom is investigating whether the potential for offence caused by the presenter's comments about breastfeeding were justified by the context," said the regular's spokesperson.

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