Ofcom has fined the BBC £150,000 over the Russell Brand debacle, after it found the broadcaster to be in breach of the regulator’s Broadcasting Code.
Two episodes of the Russell Brand show, co-hosted by Jonathan Ross and broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on October 18 and 25 last year, were deemed as “gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning”.
Ofcom said the BBC broadcasted explicit, intimate and confidential information about Georgina Baillie, the granddaughter of the actor Andrew Sachs, known famously for his role in Fawlty Towers, without their consent.
Ofcom’s investigation revealed that the “presenter’s interests had been given greater priority than the BBC’s responsibility to avoid unwarranted infringements of privacy and minimise the risk of harm and offence and to maintain generally accepted standards”.
The debacle dominated media headlines last year, with around 42,000 complaints made against the broadcaster. It subsequently led to the resignation of Brand, Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas and head of compliance Dave Barber. Ross was suspended without pay.