BBC Radio Solent DJ Alex Dyke criticised by Ofcom for breastfeeding rant

Alex Dyke
Alex Dyke
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Radio Solent presenter Alex Dyke’s much-criticised remarks about women breastfeeding in public were a breach of broadcasting rules, a watchdog has ruled.

Ofcom said his comments ‘stepped significantly beyond what would have been deemed acceptable by listeners.’

And in a separate report, the BBC Trust report said that his diatribe on a live show was a serious breach of guidelines.

The Trust report said the DJ had made ‘repeated derogatory stereotypical comments about the appearance of the kind of women who might breastfeed’ during the phone-in programme in August.

It said the said the comments caused harm and offence and also breached guidelines on fairness, as well as Mr Dyke treating one caller in particular in a derogatory manner.

The DJ was temporarily suspended from his Radio Solent show after saying during the phone-in that breastfeeding in public was unnatural and ‘has to be stopped.’

He told listeners that he was talking about ‘earth mothers with moustaches, the ones who work in libraries, the ones who wear hessian, the ones... they’re always on Radio 4 on Women’s Hour, they are always pushing the boundaries and making us feel uncomfortable.’

He added: ‘Breastfeeding is unnatural. It’s the kind of thing that should be done in a quiet, private nursery.’

He was suspended for a week, and returned to make an on-air apology, telling listeners: ‘I made comments which, on reflection, were comments which were misguided, ill-judged and showed a lack of understanding and empathy with women who breastfeed,

‘I have had time away from my radio show, and had space to think about what I said.’

Ofcom said: ‘Alex Dyke made a series of statements over a substantial part of his programme which both stereotyped women who breastfed and were likely to be perceived as misogynistic,

‘We were particularly concerned that Alex Dyke had been permitted to broadcast highly offensive comments with apparently minimal editorial oversight.’

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘We take the Ofcom and BBC Trust findings very seriously indeed. Alex was told at the time in no uncertain terms that his comments were unacceptable, and he apologised for any offence caused on and off air.’