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COOKIES & PRIVACY POLICY

COMMENT: HEAR THE ONE ABOUT JONATHAN ROSS AND THE LADYBOY?

Wossy puts his foot in it, and pulls it back out again.

Paris Lees

Wed, 01 Feb 2012 08:42:18 GMT | Updated 2 years today

Jonathan Ross has found himself in hot water again at the weekend by making off jokes about transgender people. During his Saturday night show on ITV, Ross joked about a scheme run by a Thai airline to encourage Kathoey cabin crew: "The biggest shock on that plane, I imagine, is when the plane hits turbulence because it's not just the oxygen masks which fall down in front of your face. 'What a great way to spend the flight though because you wouldn't need puzzles or a movie. You'd just be, "Is she? Is he? Is she?" Then comes the punchline: 'And when you want to find out the answer you just press the buzzer and go, "Excuse me, do you have any nuts?"' When accused of transphobia by an angry tweeter, Ross's reply was inflammatory to say the least: "Lighten up. Sir. Madam. Whatever". Yeah, that.

Over the weekend, I blogged about the offensive skit, and the issue gained momentum. At first, Wossy shrugged the barrage of angry tweets off, but some tweeters managed to appeal to his reasonable side (while the bloodthirsty mob headed off to complain to Ofcom). Given some time to think about it, Ross posted the following:

"The intention was never there to upset, and i regret my thoughtlessness. I am all about acceptance and equality for all."

He added: 'I was insensitive and that was wrong. As ever am working towards being a better person.' Forced apologies may be glib, but I think Ross's tweets of contrition are actually quite significant. I believe many comedians have no idea that such jokes feed into a constant culture of ridicule for trans people. It's just not an environment they've ever had to live in, and it's a privilege that Ross and many of his contemporaries have clearly never questioned before. Thanks, then, for social networking sites, which now provide previously silenced minorities with a voice. And Wossy? I suspect he's probably one of the good guys. I hope so. Imagine the difference it would make if someone like him were to champion trans people rather than mock us. Just a thought…

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