Will Young has revealed that callous “homophobic” jokes directed at him by former Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles in 2009 had a lasting toll.
Moyles, the former presenter of the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show, was found to have breached broadcasting rules in 2009 during a segment mocking the gay Pop Idol winner for his camp affectation.
During the on-air segment, which aired on Young’s birthday, Moyles imitated the singer by putting on an effeminate voice, declaring: “Oooh Will Young here! It’s Will’s birthday and as the years go by I get more very gay! When you saw me years ago you didn’t know, but now I’m the gayest fella you probably know.”
Parodying the singer’s hit “Evergreen”, Moyles sang: “I’m gonna wear my new dress tonight. And I smell nice. I’ve had a shower and I’ve shaved my legs. Going out later, might go to Nob-oooh for dinner.”
Despite outrage at the time, Moyles was defended by the BBC, and he continued to host the Radio 1 breakfast show for three more years after the appalling incident before stepping aside of his own volition.
In his new book To be a Gay Man, Will Young broke his silence on the grim moment more than a decade on.
Will Young opens up about ‘homophobic rampage’ from Chris Moyles.
He wrote: “BBC Radio 1 breakfast show DJ Chris Moyles decided to embark on a rampage of homophobia against me – on my birthday no less. It was something that left me aghast, especially as he and I were on friendly terms.
“I have never heard the show or read the transcript until now, but I managed to find the audio and transcript of the show, and also the replies from the BBC, who weren’t exactly falling over themselves to apologise.
“I did feel that, back then, Radio 1 was a bit of a hotbed for anti-gay sentiment. Chris Moyles presented the breakfast show, probably attracting the most listeners at that time of day across the whole of the UK, so the homophobia against me was beamed through people’s radios in their cars, their homes, their workplaces, and to their ears, as they got ready for, or travelled to, work, school or college.
“Here, my sexuality was something to be mocked and laughed at, which is without question encouraging homophobia.”
Young continued: “What Chris Moyles did that morning was reinforce the idea of gay men as laughable creatures, who are oddities and camp, prancing about in dresses, wearing make-up – effectively, anything other than the stereotypical macho normal man.
“Let’s imagine that ethnic minorities were being stereotyped and made fun of on this show. I don’t even want to consider that would be the case, and neither, I’m sure, would Chris Moyles. Yet, for some reason, gay people were, and unfortunately still sometimes are, fair game.”
Homophobic incident had a ‘really bad’ impact on singer
At the time, Young remained silent on the abuse and did not complain publicly.
But in a new interview with The Times, the singer indicated that he didn’t take further action at the time personally because of fears a fall-out with the radio station could effectively end his career.
He said: “It still makes me feel sad in a way, because it did affect how important I felt my sexuality was, and because I didn’t stand up for myself.
“So even though I was like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter’, it did, actually. It was really bad. Really bad.”
Upholding a complaint by a member of the public in 2009, Ofcom ruled that the comments were not intended to be “hostile or derogatory” but “could have reasonably been interpreted by listeners as promoting and condoning certain negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation”.
PinkNews has contacted Chris Moyles and the BBC for comment.
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