The dormant row over Chris Moyles' use of the word 'gay' in a modern, ironic slang sense has been reopened by Scott Mills in a Guardian interview. The questions about his role as an out dj on the network led, inevitably, to the question of Moyles' clumsy use of the word:
It's ridiculous. Chris is one of the least homophobic people I've met. That "gay" thing [when Moyles used the word "gay" to mean "rubbish"] was an off-the-cuff remark and I didn't find it in the least bit offensive. I know, having spoken to him, he was quite mortified that people would think he was homophobic.
But you were involved in an anti-bullying campaign where you said that to use "gay" as an insult was ...
Yes, but I think on Chris's show it was meant as a joke thing. I've spoken to him and I don't think he would -
BBC press officer: I don't think we want to go into this. It wasn't offensive to you ...
Aha. So you need a press officer on hand to tell you what was and wasn't offensive to you, eh, Scott?
Was the BBC wrong to back Moyles?
BBC press officer: I'm not sure he can really comment ...
I don't really want to say. I don't really have an opinion.
... at least, the press officer tells me that. How can you not have an opinion, Scott? How come a minute ago you were defending him and then, when asked if the BBC was right to do so, you suddenly don't have an opinion?
The answer, of course, is because while Moyles is merely clumsy and ill-judged what was acceptable, Mills should know better, but doesn't. As his next answer shows:
Aha. I'm gay, so I can't be homophobic. But if people who complain don't realise you're gay then how can could "I'm allowed to say it, I'm on the team" be an excuse? Mills has chosen to be out in a soft way "not a gay ambassador" - which is fine, his choice and all that - but if you're going to use being gay as an excuse for being homophobic, you'd better bloody make sure people know where you're speaking from.
Because what about the people who feel outraged and don't complain? And what about the people who hear you say those things, don't know you're gay, and agree with you?
Indeed, whether you're gay or not, you shouldn't be spewing homophobia on the radio.
Because what about the people who hear you, know you're gay and feel vindicated in their attitudes - because if a gay bloke's saying it about gay blokes, it can't be wrong, can it?
Is Mills unaware of the concept of the self-hating Jew? Is he happy being an Unmarried Uncle Tom? Doesn't he think that being gay, and broadcasting things that people take to be homophobic, makes it worse, not better.
[Gareth McClean has blogged about this over on the Guardian site, too.]