Emma Atkinson

Ofcom launches investigation into Dapper Laughs: On The Pull

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The broadcasting regulator Ofcom has announced they are investigating Dapper Laughs: On the Pull.

A spokesperson for the watchdog claimed that Ofcom are ‘investigating whether the repeated use of sexual references in this comedy series met generally accepted standards’ after complaints from 99 viewers.

The show was axed last week after criticism arose over the character – real name Daniel O’Reilly – including a petition signed by nearly 70,000 people.

The petition called for ITV to ‘recognise that it has a duty not to aid the spread of sexism as seen in Dapper Laughs: On the Pull’.

Although ITV has always insisted the show was ‘suitable for broadcast’, the channel said the decision not to renew the series was due to criticism focusing on Dapper Laughs’ ‘activities outside of the ITV2 programme’. During its run, the series attracted an average audience of only 119,000 people.

The Broadcasting Code, which Ofcom upholds, states that viewers should be protected from material which does not comply with generally accepted standards and which may be found harmful or offensive.

This material may include ‘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)’.

Whilst the investigation is ongoing, broadcasters are allowed to argue that the material was justified by the context it was presented in- including the audience expectations at the time of broadcasting.

Ofcom stresses about investigations: ‘It is important to note that an investigation does not necessarily mean the broadcaster has done anything wrong. Not all investigations result in breaches of the licence or other regulatory requirements being recorded.’

The investigation follows a damaging week for O’Reilly, who announced on Newsnight that he was retiring the character for good, not 24 hours after his ITV show was axed.