BBC defends Katherine Ryan after “straight white male” joke sparks complaints

"We can assure you we never set out to offend viewers with anything we show"

The BBC has defended comedian Katherine Ryan following a joke which sparked a backlash.

On the April 17 episode of All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star, Ryan spoke to contestant Tamara who she encouraged to have more belief in her abilities.

Ryan went on to say that Tamara would be more confident if she were a “straight white male” and joked: “Think about Boris Johnson, how pleased he’d be right now.”

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The comments on the show, which sees eight jewellers competing to become the next big star jewellery designer, sparked an online backlash which led to the BBC later issuing a statement.

It read: “Many viewers of this programme will be familiar with Katherine Ryan’s well-established style of comedy after multiple appearances on BBC comedy programmes over the years.

“Comedy is one of the most subjective areas of programming and we can assure you we never set out to offend viewers with anything we show.”

Speaking about her comedy to NME last year, Ryan said: “I’m always aiming to protect vulnerable groups. From the start of my career, I was edgy, maybe shocking, but always with good intentions.

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“If I didn’t hit that correct, which I’m sure I didn’t all the time and there’s always room for misinterpretation, then that’s fine.

“I’ve been admonished and criticised for a few jokes in the past, but I have no control over ‘cancel culture’ when it comes to work so I tend not to worry about things I can’t control, and I certainly don’t censor myself.”

The next episode of All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star airs on April 20 at 8pm on BBC2.

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