Complaints flooded broadcasting watchdog Ofcom after ITV soap opera Emmerdale aired an episode on Monday 6th March (2017) featured a violent assault on gay character Aaron Dingle played by Danny Miller.
Over 268 individuals complained after viewing the episode. The storyline saw Aaron subjected to an assault by homophobic bully Jason whilst they are both in prison, the scenes which included verbal insults of a homophobic nature were aired prior to the watershed.
An ITV spokesperson told Digital Spy: “The threat of violence towards Aaron Dingle was signposted both before and during the episode, which included a pre-transmission warning of scenes some viewers might find upsetting.
“The issue of violence in prisons is a real and highly topical one, and many viewers have praised the storyline for highlighting the homophobia some people face within the criminal justice system.
“The actual violence shown towards Aaron was however carefully judged and suitably limited, given the scheduling of the programme.”
The LGBT charity Stonewall commented: “Gay men experience homophobia in many different parts of their lives, whether at work, in school or in their local communities, and it’s great to see Emmerdale tackling the abuse that lesbian, gay, bi and trans people continue to face.
“It’s vital that all prison staff are trained in how to prevent and tackle anti-LGBT behaviour, and that all public institutions take pride in promoting diversity and inclusion.”
Ofcom has since rejected the complaints.