By Nick Cowen. Article first published online: 4 DEC 2015
How sexuality should be regulated in a liberal
political community is an important, controversial theoretical and empirical question--as shown by the recent criminalization of possession of some adult pornography in the United Kingdom. Supporters of criminalization argue that Mill, often considered a
staunch opponent of censorship, would support prohibition due to his feminist commitments. I argue that this account underestimates the strengths of the Millian account of private conduct and free expression, and the consistency of Millian anticensorship
with feminist values. A Millian contextual defense of liberty, however, suggests several other policy approaches to addressing the harms of pornography.
For some reason a ludicrous whinge about radio presenter Jeremy Vine saying he had man flu has made the news.
He was apparently reported for political incorrectnes under the BBC's equality and diversity rules.
He referred to his man
flu while talking to Dr Sarah Jarvis about whooping cough and other illnesses common in the 1800s. Vine explained on Twitter:
Oh great, someone's reported me under the BBC Equality and Diversity Code because I told
@DrSarahJarvis yesterday I had man flu.
The BBC confirmed that a complaint had been received, and a Radio 2 spokesman later said no further action will be taken. The broadcaster investigates possible breaches of standards, but does
not investigate minor, misconceived, hypothetical, repetitious or otherwise vexatious complaints .
A Radio 2 spokeswoman said:
Jeremy was clearly making fun of himself, no BBC policies have been breached
and the complaint has been dismissed.
A photo exhibition of naked women aimed at promoting positive body image in Copenhagen has been shut down by police.
The police message seems to be that the insecure young girls of Denmark should be ashamed of their bodies as they are not fit to be
seen in public
Danish nudist photographer and artist Mathilde Grafström had planned the display of her Female Beauty collection for Copenhagen's Nytorv square, but police have denied her permission claiming the photos are offensive .
Speaking to Denmark's TV 2 she said:
I take my photos to show young women that they are more beautiful than they think. I show the woman that she is beautiful, and that way I can help her to accept herself.
The Australian supermarket Cole's has banned the latest issue of fashion magazine, Harper's Bazaar .
Cole's cited easily offended customer and justified the censorship in a statement:
We didn't think the
cover was appropriate for our stores so the decision was made.\
He added that customer feedback prompted the dumping.
Later a spokesman refused to comment on why the cover, shot by renowned fashion photographer Steven
Chee and featuring Miranda Kerr standing in a pair of stilettos, covering her naked breasts with her arm,
Miranda Kerr's management has fired back at Coles questioning the motives of the supermarket's censorship. Kerr's manager Annie Kelly said:
There have been numerous examples of similar covers sold without restriction that celebrate and support women and this is no different. They seem to have used it to get publicity during the busiest trading time of the
An renown art gallery has been criticised after censoring words such as negro and Mohammedan from the
descriptions of its artworks in case they cause offence.
Indian and dwarf are two other words that have been altered at the the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam -- leading to observation that it is pandering to political correctness. It has
removed 'offensive' words from around 200 titles and descriptions of it works of art, replacing them PC friendly terminology.
Martine Gosselink, head of political correctness at the history department, who initiated the project, said:
The point is not to use names given by whites to others.
We Dutch are called kaas kops, or cheeseheads, sometimes, and we wouldn't like it if we went to a museum in another country and saw
descriptions of images of us as "kaas kop woman with kaas kop child" and that's exactly the same as what's happening here.'
The term Mohammedan , an archaic word for Muslim, is also among those to be changed in a
drive to get rid of the insulting descriptions .
Offsite Comment: Should we censor art and books to fit our times
There are many words and phrases which, while accepted in their day, are clearly insulting and derogatory in the modern context and distort or confuse our understanding of the art itself.
For example, when Huckleberry Finn was republished a few years ago its liberal use of the N-word was replaced with the word
slave . In the white-supremacist era in which the book was written, just 20 years after the abolition of slavery, the N-word was clearly acceptable among its mainly white readership. The story's underlying liberal message, though, could be lost if
the modern reader was distracted by language which, today, is only used by bigots. In fact, if the original story wasn't meant to be hate-filled, changing the words can actually bring it into line with the original intention rather than distorting it
with words now out of context.
A pair of shops in Glasgow have made the news for selling gollywogs. The controversial dolls have large oversized red lips, black frizzy hair, and are clothed in traditional minstrel clothing. They were spotted in the windows of Cards and Gifts, and
Party, in Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street.
Nicola Hay, campaign manager at show Racism the Red Card Scotland, said:
We are extremely saddened to hear that a shop in Glasgow is selling Golliwog dolls.
The sale of these dolls perpetuate racism as they hark back to a time when the mockery and stereotyping of black people was considered a social norm rendering black people as submissive and lesser.
We urge the
public to refrain from buying such overtly racist items and we hope the shop selling Golliwogs would consider taking them out of the store as one cannot profit on the oppression of an entire community.
The manager of Cards and Gifts
confirmed that both shops had the same owner and that he was aware the dolls were considered offensive to some. He added that they had been a popular sale in the store and that it was not his decision to sell them.
A newspaper cartoon published in The Australian has offended a few people in India.
The cartoon, by Bill Leak, one of the nation's best-known cartoonists, depicted starving Indians attempting to eat solar panels with mango chutney has been
criticised as racist and drawing on a stereotype from the 1950s .
Chris Kenny, a columnist at the newspaper, told IBTimes India that the cartoon was mocking the Paris deal for spending aid on climate instead of reducing poverty ,
adding that solar panels are not the greatest need in developing world .
But the cartoon prompted a few 'outraged' tweets. eg:
Get it - brown people are stupid and a waste of our (superior white
people's) effort. Excellent racism Bill Leak.
David Pope, a cartoonist from the rival newspaper The Canberra Times , tweeted:
How backward is Aust #climate politics? Here, the absurd
racist rubbish published by Murdoch's national newspaper.
A comment piece in The Hindustan Times attacked the cartoon for focusing on a stereotype of Indian poverty straight out of the 1950s .
For years, it has been the last word in glamorous women, style and high fashion. But now the Pirelli calendar has swopped the sexy nude models for women of achievement .
Shot by Annie Liebovitz, it will star Yoko Ono, Patti Smith and Serena
Williams. Most of the women will be fully-clothed, with only comedian Amy Schumer appearing in the flesh as part of a knowing in-joke that she didn't get this year's memo .
Fran Lebowitz, writer and calendar model, joked: Women with
their clothes on are having a moment .
Annie Liebovitz told a press conference that the calendar represented a shift in the way women were viewed in here world, with an increasing focus on achievement over looks.
Game developer Team Ninja Has announced that the console game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 won't be released in North America or in Europe. And there are no plans to change that decision.
The developer explains that political correctness does allow
for a game with so many sexy bikini scenes: Team Ninja write:
Do you know many issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry? We do not want to talk those things
here. But certainly we have gone through in last year or two to come to our decision. Thank you.
A few viewers have vented their 'fury' at the BBC after this week's episode of Doctor Who showed a plane being shot out of the sky by a missile.
The super sensitive tweeters claimed the timing of the episode was insensitive given the terror
attack on the Russian plane flying out of Egypt.
In the episode a shapeshifting alien takes the form of Clara Oswald and shoots at the plane with the with the intention of killing the doctor and all of the others on board The missile is seen
hitting the plane before it explodes and is brought to the ground where viewers were shown the burning wreckage.
The Daily Mail dredged up a few trivial tweets:
Surprised the BBC would show a plane being shot down given recent events #doctorwho
Given the situation in Egypt, perhaps blowing up a plane on this week's episode of Doctor Who was not
Can't believe #doctorwho showed a plane being shot out of the sky given the current news #insensitive.
A BBC spokesman responded:
The episode was clearly signposted as science fiction set in a fantasy world and no one died in the scene.
Update: Official BBC response: Gotcha,
it was a military aircraft, not a commercial airliner
We received complaints from viewers who felt that scenes showing the destruction of an aeroplane were inappropriate in light of recent
We're aware that elements of drama programmes can sometimes bring to mind real events, and we always think very carefully about this.
In this case, though, the story was presented as a science fiction fantasy, far removed from the real world. The episode didn't depict a passenger-carrying commercial airliner - it was a military aircraft on official business - and
both the Doctor and his companion survived.
With this in mind we didn't feel the scenes would be outside of most viewers' expectations for the programme, but we appreciate the differing feedback we've received.
Update: Complaints to Ofcom will surely be made into paper planes for crashing into the waste bin
Ofcom has decided against launching an investigation into the plane crash episode of Doctor Who. A spokesman said:
We received a number of complaints that it was insensitive to broadcast this episode, which featured a
plane being shot down, so close to events in the Sinai peninsula. In our view, the science fiction nature of Doctor Who and the storyline created a sufficient distinction from recent events. We therefore will not be taking the matter forward for
My Boomerang Won't Come Back is a comedy song from Charlie Drake dating back to 1961. It was controversial at the time but has just hit the news again after just being banned in Australia on grounds of political correctness.
The song is
about an Aboriginal boy banished from his tribe because he can't use a boomerang and includes the lyrics:
In the bad backlands of Australia Many years ago, The aborigine tribes were meeting, Having a big
My boomerang won't come back, My boomerang won't come back, I've waved the thing all over the place, Practised till I was black in the face, I'm a big disgrace to the Aborigine race, My boomerang won't
When the song was played on ABC's radio station in Hobart, Tasmania, in September one listener complained that it was racist. Now the broadcaster's Audience and Consumer Affairs Department has upheld that complaint,
The track as not in keeping with the ABC's editorial standards for harm and offence; there was no editorial justification for playing it.
The song was not on a regular ABC playlist but
was aired because it was requested by a listener. This error was due to staff not being familiar with the track's lyrics.
The ABC apologised to the complainant, removed the track completely from the system and took steps to ensure
that this would not happen again.
At the time of its 1961 release. The BBC refused to play the original version which contained the line: I've waved the thing all over the place/practiced till I was black in the face , so it
was re-recorded as blue in the face .
Its lack of political correctness also means an Aboriginal meeting is described as a pow-wow , a term usually associated with Native Americans, while the chanting on the track sounds more African
About 200 people have compalied to the newspaper censor Ipso about a cartoon by Mac published in the Daily Mail. It featured caricatured refugees crossing the border into Europe, accompanied by rats scurrying across the floor.
The Daily Mail's
managing editor's office said in a statement that:
As should be blindingly obvious, Mac's cartoon is a comment on the terrorist atrocities in Paris. The rats were intended to depict terrorists smuggling themselves into
Europe amongst innocent refugees.
Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, wrote to the paper's editor, suggesting that the animation:
Appears to liken immigrants of the Muslim faith to rats. To me, and
to many of my constituents, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, this cartoon appears to be Islamophobic,
And, what is more, comes at a time when our country's Muslim community - which was as shocked and saddened as we all were at the
unforgivable atrocities in Pairs - feels under threat of demonisation.
The letter was published by an unofficial group campaigning for Jeremy Corbyn to become UK Prime Minister (JeremyCorbyn4PM). The group tweeted:
Well done to @RichardBurgon for standing up to the @DailyMailUK over their disgraceful cartoon. Needed to be said.
The press censor Ipso confirmed it had received 200 complaints regarding the drawing.
The BBC responded to a complaint without informing viewers what the complaint was about. The BBFC said:
Strictly Come Dancing, BBC One, 24 October 2015
We received complaints from viewers unhappy with Bruno Tonioli's use of strong language during this episode.
We're sorry for
any offence caused by Bruno's remark during the live show. Bruno made the comment in the heat of the moment, and apologised immediately when he realised what he had said. Tess also apologised to viewers, as did the Strictly team on Twitter. The remark
was removed from the iPlayer version of the show.
In fact Bruno said 'bollocks'. When passing his verdict on Jay and Aliona Vilani's dance, he shrieked: Oh yeah! those are the bull's bollocks! Tess Daly then apologised to
viewers, telling them: I would just like to apologise for Bruno's language there, he got a little over-excited .
Newspapers generally reported that Ofcom had dismissed complaints about the
pre-watershed use of the word 'bollocks' with the inference that it was OK to use pre-watershed. However an Ofcom TV censor has written to the Times to clarify that in fact the word 'bollocks' is not OK before the watershed, it's just that the Strictly
Come Dancing presenter grovelled enough that the programme was let off from the transgression of the censorship rules.
In a letter to The Times, Ofcom's Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement, Tony Close, explained the TV
In deciding not to pursue complaints about Strictly Come Dancing, we took into account the live, accidental nature of the incident and clear recognition by the other judges and presenter that this
We also recognised the swift and sincere apology by the presenter.
We continue to enforce the watershed to protect audiences and will take swift, robust action when broadcasters get it
A coffee shop in south-east London called Fuckoffee has been ordered by its landlord to remove the supposedly offensive sign bearing its name.
The cafe owners posted a tweet showing a redacted version of the letter outlining the
censorship. The letter read:
We are instructed that you have either erected or allowed your sub-tenant to erect an offensive sign on the exterior of the buliding... without the permission or authority from our client
to do so and this constitutes a trespass.
According to the letter, the Bermondsey Street coffeeshop could face legal proceedings or the forfeiture of its lease if it does not remove the sign. It will also have to cover the costs of
the legal steps taken so far.
Fans of the coffee shop took to Twitter to express their support of the sign, with several accusing the landlord of being joyless and criticising the property owner for adding further hurdles for small
After a warning from their landlord, Fuckoffee have 'censored' their sign by replacing the 'u' with an asterisk.
The new design was unveiled on Twitter on Tuesday.
Customers had rallied behind the store to hold strong against the threat,
and London Mayor Boris Johnson had also voiced his support.
A petition was later started to rally support for the cafe. It read:
There is a small, indie coffee shop in Bermondsey called Fuckoffee. They have had
a few anally retentive and gormless people complain about their name and now they have their money grabbing corporate landlord demand they take the sign down as it is deemed to be offensive.
We, the undersigned, confirm we have a
sense of humour and find the continued attack on our beloved Fuckoffee an insult to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and humour.
The company responsible for a giant billboard showing construction workers and their shadows has blown off whinges about the humorous advertising campaign.
The billboard, erected by Christchurch-based property developers Gillman Wheelans, advertises
constructions in West Melton, under the headline, Getting the job done .
However a local whinger thought the billboard was in bad taste and complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. A complaint read:
On the wall behind them, the advertiser has chosen to depict shadows cast by the workers. They have chosen to do this to look as though the woman worker is performing fellatio on the man. That was deeply offensive and was an
objectifying, demeaning sexualisation of women.
In a majority decision, the advert censor shot down the complaint. The double entendre with the shadow was acknowledged, but the risque image was described as subtle and
was covered by a provision in the industry code allowing for humour. The humour within the shadow did not meet the threshold of causing serious or widespread offence, the authority ruled.