Celebrity chef Ramsay tells critics to flick off
The Associated Press
Published Friday, June 20, 2008 11:10AM EDT
CANBERRA, Australia - Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay advice for those who don't like him swearing on TV: switch the channel.
Ramsay, a top-ranking British chef who has become an international television star known for expletive-laden tirades directed at kitchen underlings, became the subject of a parliamentary inquiry in Australia after a lawmaker objected to his prime-time cursing.
A Senate panel this week rejected calls to ban certain swear words on Australian TV because community attitudes did not seem overwhelmingly opposed to them. But the senators also made a series of recommendations aimed at helping viewers avoid bad language on TV.
On Friday, Ramsay, who is currently visiting Australia, told Nine Network TV there is no need to tighten broadcast regulations because of him.
"Turn over (the TV channel); isn't it easier?'' he said in an interview peppered with profanities.
"I don't mean to swear, it's just the muppets I have to work with sometimes,'' he added, using a slang term for a stupid person.
"It's high pressure, high energy and, more importantly, real -- that's how we keep it every day,'' he said.
The Senate inquiry focused on the series "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares,'' produced by the celebrity chef in the United States and Britain and screened in Australia by top rated Nine.
The inquiry was initiated by opposition Sen. Cory Bernardi who said that "there is no excuse for gratuitous bad language to be broadcast repeatedly'' when it could be "beeped out.''
The inquiry focused on two of Ramsay's choices of swear words.
The inquiry heard evidence that the firebrand chef and restaurateur used one of his favourite curses 80 times within a single 40 minute episode.
Nine chief executive David Gyngell told the inquiry that the other Ramsay profanity, used to berate a chef in an episode screened earlier this year, would never again be broadcast by his national network.
The eight senators on the committee said in their report that they would not recommend any additional broadcast restrictions on the two swear words.
"In the absence on an overwhelming community consensus that particular words be banned altogether, the committee does not believe it is appropriate to make any recommendations with regard to imposing additional limits,'' the report said.
They said that decision was also based on available studies that found coarse language in the media did not harm children.
There are already rules that prevent such words being used on Australian TV before 8:30 p.m. and requiring "coarse language'' warnings be shown when such programs begin.
But the report recommended technology that would enable parents to block out programs that are unsuitable for children become standard for all digital televisions sold in Australia.
It also recommended broadcasters consider permanently displaying the classification symbol of a program on screen and that such classifications more accurately reflect a program's content.