Gordon Ramsay's 'Hell's Kitchen USA' rapped for swearing
Published Jul 18 2011, 16:18 BST | By Andrew Laughlin
Media regulator Ofcom has today criticised the eighth series of Hell's Kitchen USA
for the "very strong swearing" of Gordon Ramsay
and the show's contestants.
Ramsay is well known for foul-mouthed tirades in his TV shows, but a viewer complained about the frequent use of the word "f**k" in an episode of Hell's Kitchen USA
aired on ITV2 on April 18.
After reviewing the show, Ofcom noted that the expletive was used a total of 47 times, 18 of which occurred within the first 11 minutes after the 9pm watershed.
ITV attempted to argue that "the essence of the show is to place [contestants] in a deliberately high-pressured environment, where conflict with each other and chef Ramsay is commonplace".
The broadcaster said that "viewers are very well accustomed to high levels of strong language" in the programme, while swearing is a character trait for which Gordon Ramsay "is particularly well known".
ITV noted that there have been "very few complaints" about strong language in Hell's Kitchen USA
since its inception in 2005, but accepted that the 18 mentions of "f**k" in the first 11 minutes of the episode was "relatively high".
Ofcom noted that Ramsay was known for his use of strong language, while ITV2 always issues warnings about swearing before the programme begins.
However, the regulator ruled that the context was "not sufficient to justify the potential offence caused", particularly the frequent use of "f**k" in the first segment of the show.
"There were 18 instances of the most offensive language included in the first 11 minutes of the programme broadcast immediately after the 9pm watershed," said Ofcom.
"This was a significant concentration of the most offensive language and had the potential to cause considerable offence to viewers, especially those who may come across it unawares.
"Further, this amount of very strong swearing concentrated immediately after the 9pm watershed in Ofcom's opinion would not have been in keeping with viewers' expectations - partly because the warning given to viewers before the programme began was inadequate to prepare them for this amount of very strong language at this time."
Ofcom noted that audience figures show that 38,000 children under of the age of 15 regularly watch Hell's Kitchen USA
. It concluded that the swearing "amounted to an unduly abrupt transition to more adult, post-watershed material", and so breached the Broadcasting Code.
Ramsay was previously rapped by Ofcom in 2004 for his swearing in the British version of Hell's Kitchen
on ITV1, particularly the combination of the words "f**k" and "Jesus".
Last month, Hell's Kitchen USA
producer A Smith & Co was acquired by British firm Tinopolis in a deal thought to be worth around £60m