Brian Dowling | Gay Slurs | Great Britain | News | Reality TV | Television

UK Comic Davidson Out of Hell's Kitchen After Homophobic Slur

Hk_2Jim Davidson, a comedian and contestant on the UK version of the reality show Hell's Kitchen has been asked to leave the show by producers after using a homophobic slur towards openly gay TV presenter and 2001 Big Brother winner Brian Dowling:

The Sun reports:

"Trouble stirred on Sunday when Jim told Brian and singer Paul Young about a look he believed he got from a table of diners. He said: 'Why do shirtlifters pull that same face?' Brian said: 'Please don’t say shirtlifters, it’s really rude.' Jim said: 'I don’t care. Gay men have the same look — some gay men have the same look.' Brian asked: 'What look? Do I do have that look?' Jim replied: 'No, only when you put it on — it’s a sort of preen.' Later Brian, 29, claimed Jim had called him a shirtlifter. Jim replied: 'I didn’t call you a shirtlifter, I said why do shirtlifters have that certain look. You said I don’t like that word so I said ‘I beg your pardon’.' Brian said: 'No you didn’t. You said, ‘I’ll say what I want’.' Jim replied: 'Fair enough. You play the homophobic card you are a f****** disgrace.' Sobbing Brian said: 'I find you the most offensive person I have ever met in my whole entire life. I find you so upsetting. I don’t play the homophobic card.'"

ITV, the network that airs Hell's Kitchen issued this statement with regard to Davidson's removal: "ITV does not condone comments which could cause offence."

Below, a couple recent clips from the show that reveal the issue of homophobia has been simmering for some time.

Jim Davidson leaves TV show over gay slur [reuters]
Jim Davidson axed from Hell's Kitchen after calling gay Brian a 'shirt-lifter' [daily mail]

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  1. That's very interesting since the BBC has recently allowed people on their reality shows (like the last season of Big Brother) to say things that were much more offensive and homophobic and rather than removing them from the shows they released lame excuses to explain why the comments didn't meet their standards for censure.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 11, 2007 10:40:50 AM

  2. What the hell is a "shirtlifter"? That's a gay slur, but "fag" isn't?

    Oh, you zany Brits!

    Posted by: crispy | Sep 11, 2007 10:52:50 AM

  3. What's a "shirtlifter"?

    Posted by: Ian | Sep 11, 2007 10:54:06 AM

  4. Noun 1. shirtlifter - a homosexual man
    gay man
    closet queen - a negative term for a homosexual man who chooses not to reveal his sexual orientation
    fag, faggot, fagot, poof, poove, pouf, nance, queer, fairy, pansy, queen - offensive term for an openly homosexual man
    gay, homo, homophile, homosexual - someone who practices homosexuality; having a sexual attraction to persons of the same sex

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 11, 2007 11:04:59 AM

  5. Oops, that definition comes from a Thesaurus.

    The dictionary just says that a shirtlifter is a homosexual man.

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 11, 2007 11:08:46 AM

  6. WTF?!? Is it just me or was Brian over-reacting a wee bit? Seriously, the whole thing seemed mildly offensive at worst. Wish he hadn't turned into a complete puddle, reinforcing stereotype of gay men as weak and emotional.

    Posted by: Darb | Sep 11, 2007 11:24:48 AM

  7. How bad can the term be?? Has it been banned before? I've never heard it on British sitcoms or anything.

    Posted by: anon ( | Sep 11, 2007 11:41:22 AM

  8. How long do we have to hear people bemoan the term ' politically correct ' in order to justify their own mean spirited agenda?
    Darb,quite possibly Jim touched a nerve in Brian that produced that "puddle" reaction.He was determined to have his say anyway and that is in no way stereotypical!
    Glad he didn't back down, tears not withstanding,

    Posted by: brian | Sep 11, 2007 11:42:23 AM

  9. Okay, HOW does the term "shirtlifter" refer to a homosexual man? What is the origin of the word? We Americans can be thick so if someone can explain, we'd all appreciate it!

    Posted by: Michael W. | Sep 11, 2007 11:56:46 AM

  10. "Shirtlifter" refers to the practice of lifting the back of some-one's shirt to gain access to the arse - pretty self-explanatory, no? The term is more common in Australia and New Zealand than England - I've lived in London six years now and heard it very rarely - in fact, it's a pretty mild term of abuse, nowhere near "fag" or even the pretty outmoded "poof"...

    Posted by: JOHNNZBOY | Sep 11, 2007 12:01:56 PM

  11. To respond to the first comment from Zeke - the BBC doesn't air Big Brother in the UK, it is a Channel 4 show.

    As far as the shirtlifter thing goes - I think the basic point is that you're lifting a guy's shirt up in order to have sex with him. Maybe it goes back to the nineteenth century when men would have worn nightshirts in bed, I don't know. I agree it sounds mild but it is quite an offensive term in the UK, you would know if someone said that to you that they were trying to be offensive.

    Posted by: Lucy | Sep 11, 2007 12:06:19 PM

  12. Is "shirtlifter" milder than, equal to, or worse than "pillow biter"?

    Posted by: Steve | Sep 11, 2007 12:39:14 PM

  13. Thanks for the explanation, Johnnzboy. It doesn't sound very offensive to me. But I guess the offensiveness of a word may depend on the amount of vehemence behind it.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Sep 11, 2007 12:51:23 PM

  14. We're also getting an edited version of what happened. We can't know if this was the whole of the situation.

    Posted by: db | Sep 11, 2007 12:54:13 PM

  15. Davidson's comedy schtick has always involved being offensive about one minority group or another--blacks, gays, disabled people--so his comments are no surprise. But shirtlifter is a pretty mild term. The BBC's Top Gear show casts aspersions of the gay=crap variety with greater frequency yet receives mild rebuke.

    Oddly enough, Davidson played what I presume (I've not seen it) is a pretty camp gay man in the recent Colour Me Kubrick with John Malkovich:

    Posted by: John C | Sep 11, 2007 12:56:52 PM

  16. Americans shouldn't try to judge the level of offense that should be taken to slurs in other countries.

    In America the term "poof" sounds funny and not so offensive but in England it is the exact same thing as "faggot" here.

    Posted by: Zeke | Sep 11, 2007 12:57:04 PM

  17. I can't imagine any gay man desperate enough for sex that he would cruise Jim Davidson. Gag.

    Posted by: peterparker | Sep 11, 2007 1:52:48 PM

  18. I guess it is offensive given the definition, but for once (just once), I would like to see a gay man handle a situation without crying for God's sake!!

    I know his feeling are hurt, but just one time I wish the gay man would react more as the man and less as the gay. If for no other reason than it does show us as something other than the "sensitive" type (translation weak).

    I'm just being honest.

    but the guy should be kicked off.

    Posted by: Just Sayin' | Sep 11, 2007 2:35:16 PM

  19. I don't know what's more disheartening...

    the fact that straight guys can still torture and bully gay guys well into adulthood...

    or the fact that adult gay men react as if they were still on the playground.

    note to self: no matter how bad it gets I will not start crying.

    Posted by: Make it Stop | Sep 11, 2007 7:13:59 PM

  20. Shock! Horror! Hold the front page!

    It's hard to imagine what the least surprising aspect of this is: Jim Davidson being "controversial" and homophobic (and unfunny into the bargain - isn't he well past his sell-by date?) or Brian Dowling (my compatriot, but we're not that proud of him) being an overly sensitive drama queen.

    Both feeding stereotypes off each other, and boosting meager ratings for yet another tired reality show designed to rescue tired careers. (Paul Young as well? Give me a break.)

    No, I haven't seen it (show or video clip), and nor do I intend to.

    Posted by: Ronatlarge | Sep 11, 2007 10:53:26 PM

  21. While I feel Brian has overreacted somewhat, I guess we haven't seen all that has gone on between him and Jim.

    However, why is Brian being criticised in other comments on here for crying? He is upset, why shouldn't cry? This suggestion that gay men are somehow weaker for crying is just as outmoded as homophobic language.

    I DO agree that "Top Gear" is an example of homophobic language being used relatively unchecked.

    Posted by: Roger | Sep 12, 2007 6:31:28 AM

  22. he's a shirtlifter! you're a shirtlifter!
    we're all shirtlifters!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Posted by: nic | Sep 12, 2007 1:32:47 PM

  23. Yet another faux-controversy borne of 'reality' tv. Davidson is a twat and I was irritated by Brian for even bothering to rise to the bait. Davidson is just not worth it; Brian gave him and his idiocy a legitimacy and platform that it didn't warrant. Its all very tedious.

    Posted by: atheist | Sep 16, 2007 9:09:10 AM

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