Jonathan Ross has apologized after a gag about ‘lady boy’ trolley dollies backfired with transgender viewers on his Friday night chat show.
The UK comedian may have swapped channels but he’s still courting controversy, with scores of people tweeting their anger about his transphobic joke on The Jonathan Ross Show.
During the opening few minutes of the program, first aired on ITV1 on 21 January, Ross mentioned a recent news story about Thai airline PC Air’s decision to hire transgender flight crew.
‘They’re going to recruit more lady boys to be air stewards,’ he quipped.
‘Unlike most airlines they are actually encouraging you to take a concealed weapon on board.’
He continued: ‘The biggest shock on that plane, I imagine, is when the plane hits turbulence because it’s not just the oxygen masks which fall down in front of your face.
‘What a great way to spend the flight though because you wouldn’t need puzzles or a movie. You’d just be, “Is she? Is he? Is she?”
‘And when you want to find out the answer you just press the buzzer and go, “Excuse me, do you have any nuts?”’
But some viewers, such as @cocoteacups, didn’t see the funny side.
‘What the fuck is this transphobic bullshit on @wossy? “Ladyboy” air hostesses? Do you have any nuts? Complaining; urge you to do the same’ she posted after watching the show.
Big Bird, @SueF_63, compared the star’s humor to that of Bernard Manning’s, tweeting: ‘Not funny just hateful’
However, after an initially callous response – ‘lighten up. Sir. Madam. Whatever’ – Ross backed down today, tweeting an apology to anyone he might have offended.
‘I was insensitive and that was wrong,’ he posted. ‘As ever am working towards being a better person.’
Jonathan Ross was suspended from the BBC for 12 weeks without pay in 2008 after a series of offensive answer phone messages were left for 79-year-old actor Andrew Sachs, regarding Sachs' granddaughter Georgina Baillie.