Jim Wells to complain to OFCOM over Piers Morgan ‘insulting’ same-sex dancing interview

Jim Wells. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Jim Wells. ''Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
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South Down MLA Jim Wells has said he will complain to broadcasting regulator OFCOM over the way he was treated on ITV programme Good Morning Britain.

The lifelong DUP member appeared on the programme on Tuesday morning to discuss his opposition to same-sex couples dancing on BBC One programme Strictly Come Dancing.

Mr Wells, who lost the party whip after publicly criticising the leadership last year, said: “You’ve had a busy week, you sit down with the family and you watch pure entertainment. The last thing you want is to be challenged or to be asked deep intellectual questions.”

But he is unhappy with the way the interview was conducted by hosts Piers Morgan and Suzanna Reid.

Piers Morgan told him: “I think you’re just an old bigoted dinosaur, and you feel challenged because you don’t like the idea of scary gay people around you.”

Susanna Reid also challenged Mr Wells’ views, asking: “Have you ever seen children dancing? They dance together, girls dance together, boys dance together, there’s nothing challenging about it.

“Your concern is only about seeing gay couples - it’s not about children.”

Accused of being insulting by Mr Wells, Piers Morgan said: “I’m not insulting you, I’m insulting your bigotry.”

Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, Mr Wells described the interview as “absolutely disgraceful”, before adding: “OFCOM, here we come.”

He explained: “There were two people on the panel, there was another guy there to speak as well, but he didn’t get a look in because I was absolutely savaged because of Piers Morgan’s bias on the issue.

“I am making a formal complaint. I’ve been at this business 45 years and I am well used to the rough and tumble of it, but I simply can’t allow this to go uncontested. It was entirely antagonistic the whole way through. I have been through the mill many times but I know when I have been treated unfairly.”

He continued: “They brought me on to deliberately denigrate everything that I stand for. That’s fine, so long as there’s balance, so long as the same level of vitriol is directed at both sides.”

Asked if he would be put off appearing on such programmes again, Mr Wells said: “No, because that’s the whole idea — to put me and others like me off.”